State Supreme Court, Legislature Want to Give Juveniles Serving Life Sentences a Shot at Parole

On June 6, 2007, Rodrigo Caballero, a 16-year-old member of the Vario Lancas gang in Los Angeles, jumped out of a green Toyota and opened fire on three Val Verde gang rivals walking down the street. He missed two of his targets, but the third caught a non-fatal gunshot wound near the shoulder blade.

The jury convicted Caballero, a diagnosed schizophrenic, on three counts of attempted murder, as well as enhancements for intentionally discharging a firearm for the benefit of a gang. The sentences racked up. He got 15 to life for each attempted murder; 25 to life for the firearm and gang enhancement on the first attempted murder count; and 25 to life for the gang enhancement on both attempted murder counts.
It would be 110 years before Caballero would be eligible for parole.
Yesterday, though, the California Supreme Court declared such sentences unconstitutional, ordering that juveniles guilty of non-homicide crimes get an opportunity for parole in their lifetime.

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