California Trims Draconian Sentences for Young Offenders

Life without parole is off the table for non-lethal crimes


Judge Cheryl Chun Meegan has dealt with David Dewayne Griffin before.

When the 23-year-old was a teenager who had been convicted of five felonies, including attempted murder, she imposed a prison sentence so long – 85 years to life – that he won't be eligible for parole until he's 99 years old.

That was in November 2010. Now, Griffin is back.

His is the first case to return to Sacramento County since the state Supreme Court decided last year that juvenile offenders who haven't killed anyone can't be sentenced to the functional equivalent of life in prison without parole.

Meegan took the case under submission late last month and will have to establish a new parole consideration date for Griffin. His lawyer is pushing for him to get a parole hearing within the next 10 years. The DA's Office wants it set to no sooner than Griffin's 48th birthday.