Brooke McCarthy

  • Hosted by Juvenile Law Center
  • Sponsored by Friends and Family of Philip M. Stern
  • Service location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Law school University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Brooke providedlitigation support in Pennsylvania juvenile life without parole resentencings and track outcomes to ensure juvenile lifers are fairly resentenced with the best chances for parole eligibility.

Pennsylvania has over 500 juveniles serving unconstitutional mandatory life without parole sentences. They now need resentencing considering their lesser culpability, adolescent brain development, and capacity for rehabilitation. Resentencing hearings present an opportunity to employ cutting-edge litigation techniques and scientific developments if the resources can be disseminated.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Brooke has:

  • Almost 200 individuals who were sentenced to die in prison as children are now back home with their loved ones and community
  • Over 350 cases were supported through sample briefing, listserv management, pro bono team placement, direct consultations, and trainings statewide
  • Assisted in drafting over half a dozen high-impact appeals raising constitutional claims of due process, extreme sentences that amount to life without parole, minimum sentences, and the retroactivity of key juvenile life without parole cases
  • Approximately 85% of individuals have now received new sentences and over half of them became immediately eligible for parole

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Brooke plans to:

  • Continue the project at Juvenile Law Center by finishing the final consultations for individuals who are awaiting resentencing and identifying continued impact litigation.
  • Partner with researchers to study the impact and results of resentencings and releases across the state of Pennsylvania.

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Rachel Kleinberg

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Sponsor: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP