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Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic

March 27, 2015

In the Community: Juvenile Justice Clinic Takes on Abolition of Juvenile Life Without Parole

Students in the Juvenile Justice Clinic are delving into legislative advocacy this spring as the Nevada Legislature holds its 2015 session. One of the clinic’s projects, the abolition of the sentence of juvenile life without parole, got a kick-start on January 22, when the clinic hosted a screening of the documentary, “15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story,” about a Florida man sentenced to life in prison for robberies he committed at age 14. A panel discussion followed the screening, with remarks by Assistant Federal Public Defender Megan Hoffman, criminal defense attorney Kristina Wildeveld and her recently pardoned client Marcus Dixon, and Boyd alumnus and former Assemblyman Jason Frierson. Dixon, now 31, had received two consecutive sentences of life without parole for a 1998 murder with use of a deadly weapon when he was just 14. But as is true of those so young, he is a different person now, one who understands how badly he “messed up” and is determined to lead a life that matters. Clinic students are working with a coalition of interested parties to abolish life without parole sentences and to establish presumptive parole eligibility dates for all those who were under 18 at the time of their crimes.

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