New Mexico rules against man on juvenile sentencing issue

March 10, 2018

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has denied an appeal challenging the sentence of decades in prison for a man who was convicted of committing rape and other crimes when he was 15.

Joel Ira was sentenced to 91½ years in prison and won’t be eligible for parole until he serves at least 46 years when he’s at least 62 years old but the New Mexico decision says that doesn’t violate U.S. Supreme Court rulings that found mandatory juvenile life-without-parole terms unconstitutional.

The New Mexico high court’s 3-2 ruling Friday says Ira at becoming eligible for parole will still have a “meaningful opportunity to obtain release by demonstrating his ... maturity and rehabilitation.”

Ira pleaded no contest to aggravated battery, bribery or intimidation of a witness and criminal sexual penetration.


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