The New Hampshire court system has begun reassessing the sentences of so-called ‘juvenile lifers,’ those who have received life in prison without parole for crimes committed in adolescence. Many have contested the notion of condemning teens to life in prison. Research has shown their reasoning faculties are not on par with those of adults, and their pre-frontal cortex is not yet fully developed. This makes teens far more susceptible to acting on emotional impulse rather than reason. In 2012, the Supreme Court issued a ruling which made it unconstitutional to impose mandatory life sentencing without parole for juveniles, precisely because of their tendency towards recklessness and impulse.
For the eligible group of NH juvenile lifers, the first resentencing has been handed down to one Eduardo Lopez, Jr. Lopez is 43 and serving life in prison for the murder of a Nashua resident while on a robbery spree in 1991, when he was 17 years old. Per the ruling of Judge Larry Smukler, Lopez will now be eligible for parole when he is 62.