Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, as one of his last acts in office, reduced the sentence of a 23-year-old African-American inmate named Travion Blount to 40 years in prison, making him eligible for release at age 55.
The U.S. Supreme Court changed the future fortunes of minors accused of less severe crimes than murder on Monday, ruling in a 6-3 decision that doling out life sentences with no chance of parole in those cases would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
Whether or not Abduwali Abukhadir Muse is 15, as his father claims, he will be tried in New York as an adult for his alleged role in holding an American ship captain as a hostage. Muse’s mother, on the other side of the world, has asked President Obama for mercy, or to at least let her be with her son.