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12 Texas inmates are serving banned juvenile life sentence

Photo: Shutterstock

A dozen Texas inmates are serving a sentence the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional because they were younger than 18 when they committed their crimes.

In early 2016, the court told states to retroactively apply its 2012 ruling that banned mandatory life without parole for juveniles convicted of homicide. While many states have acted to resentence offenders to parole-eligible terms, Texas has left it to inmates to apply individually.

Department of Criminal Justice officials say if inmates succeed before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, their sentences will be set aside and new punishment hearings ordered.

Many inmates already resentenced have received life with parole after 40 years, but some advocates say that sentence isn't a real chance at resentencing and are advocating for an earlier opportunity at release.

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