BATON ROUGE, La., Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A Louisiana man who has served about 30 years of a life sentence for raping a woman at knife point when he was 15 is now eligible for parole, a judge has ruled.
The man, Jerome Richardson of Jefferson Parish, now 46, became eligible for release under a ruling Wednesday by 24th Judicial District Court Judge Steve Windhorst.
The judge's ruling came after a new state law went into effect Aug. 1. The measure was in response to a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Florida case that found life sentences for juvenile offenders convicted of something other than homicide constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
There are 48 such offenders in Louisiana, The (New Orleans) Times-Picyaune reported. Richardson, who was convicted in a 1981 rape in which a friend shot and wounded the woman's companion, will get a hearing before the parole board.
After the Louisiana Legislature failed to pass a new law clarifying life sentences for juveniles in 2011, the state Supreme Court set up its own provisional statute, ordering parole hearings for any of the convicts who had turned 45 and served at least 20 years of their original sentence.
To qualify, convicts must have a clean prison disciplinary record for a year, have obtained a GED if they did not already have a high school diploma and register as sex offenders upon release, the newspaper reported.