Philadelphia District Attorney (D.A.) Seth Williams finally released his Juvenile Resentencing Protocol in compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Miller vs. Alabama and Montgomery vs. Louisiana. D.A. Seth Williams has stated “we are going to use the new sentencing structure, applied retroactively…”, as his office begins to re-sentence child offenders serving illegal Life-Without-Parole (LWOP) sentences.
On June 3, 2016, the D.A. Office (DAO) released a step-by-step overview detailing the process that will be used to review the sentence of approximately 340 child life cases. The DAO stated at the time, “In court, the DAO will recommend a new sentence using the Commonwealth’s current sentencing statute (18 PA. CSA. 1102) as its guide.”
The DAO then resentenced Philadelphians Tyrone Jones and Henry Smolarski, two child offenders who were serving LWOP sentences, to new sentences of 35 years-to-life imprisonment.
It appears that D.A. Seth Williams has traded one illegal sentence of Child LWOP for another illegal sentence of Child-Life-With-Parole.
Under Pennsylvania Law, there is the 1102 murder statute, under which the sentence for first and second degree murder is mandatory LWOP only. And there is the 1102.1 murder statute for child offenders, enacted as Law in 2012 after the Miller decision, under which sentencing terms fall between 20 and 35 years-to-life imprisonment, and is not retroactive for child lifers whose convictions were final before June 25, 2012 when 1102.1 was passed into law.
Moreover, the Parole Law 61 PA C.S.A. 6137 (a) (1) prohibits parole for prisoners sentenced to Life imprisonment (except for child offenders sentenced under 1102.1). Again, 1102.1 does not have retroactive effect for Child Lifers whose convictions were final before 2012.
D.A. Seth Williams is being very deceitful in his stated position on resentencing child offenders sentenced to LWOP, especially when considering the fact that the 1102 and 1102.1 simply doesn’t retroactively apply to the vast majority of Philly’s 340 Child Lifers.
The DAO could not retroactively apply the 1102.1 to those Child Lifers back in 2012 by now using it as a guide for a new sentencing structure. If the 1102 was unlawful to apply then, it’s unlawful to apply now even as a sentencing guide. Besides, only the Legislature can create a new sentencing structure.
What we have here is the classic politician speaking with a forked-tongue. That politician is Philly DA Snake Williams.