Pennsylvania high court takes up challenge to the state’s life-without-parole sentences

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s high court is taking a case to decide whether some automatic life sentences for those convicted of murder violate constitutional protections for defendants. The justices said Friday they will hear the appeal by Derek Lee, convicted of a 2014 killing. Lee argues the state’s life-without-parole law violates prohibitions in the Pennsylvania and U.S. constitutions against cruel punishment. Pennsylvania law makes someone liable for murder if they participate in a felony that leads to death, and life with no possibility of parole is currently the state’s only possible sentence for those convicted of second-degree murder.

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