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New Mexico teenager sentenced as an adult

In the early 1990s, a 17-year-old girl was in a romantic relationship that became abusive. Now in her 40s, the woman says that she was coerced by her then-boyfriend and another person to kidnap a fellow teenager. Her boyfriend and the other person were accused of murdering that teenager, and the woman has been in prison for more than 24 years because she was tried as an adult for false imprisonment and felony murder, and she was sentenced to life without parole. 

In New Mexico, there are many people who are serving prison sentences of 30 years to life because they were tried as adults in connection with incidents that occurred when they were teenagers. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is cruel and unusual punishment to sentence a teen to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The woman, who by all reports has been a model inmate, has filed a petition to request a new sentence.  

Much has happened since the woman was sent to prison 

While incarcerated, the woman completed a Bachelor’s degree through college courses offered by computer, which has no access to the internet. She teaches other inmates and works in the prison library. She says she is no longer the troubled young girl she once was and believes that she could do a lot of good helping others who have completed prison sentences to reacclimate to society if the court would approve her release. 

Legal advocate says that the woman’s sentence was unjust  

An attorney representing the woman has stated that there are several issues that would have merited reduced culpability at the time of her initial sentencing, including the fact that she received ineffective counsel at the time. When facing violent crime charges in New Mexico, it is helpful to meet with an attorney who is experienced in criminal law, especially if the defendant is a juvenile and the state is considering trying him or her as an adult.