I can vividly remember receiving an email while working at Cozen O’Connor in the summer of 2011 asking for associates interested in working on a pro bono case with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. As a high school ­student, I had become interested in ­wrongful ­convictions and so my interest was piqued. I joined the team, and a few days later, we first learned about the man behind the case, Tyrone Jones. During our first meeting with the attorneys and investigators from the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, we were told of how Jones was convicted of a gang-related murder in North Philadelphia in 1975. At the time of his arrest, he was 16 years old. Despite the lack of evidence against him (including a confession with details that did not match the crime), at the age of 18, Jones received the ­mandatory sentence for first degree murder: life in prison without the ­possibility of parole.

Our team’s journey representing Jones over the past five years has had its ups and downs. From the summer of 2011 to the summer of 2012 we worked on countless written submissions on Jones’s ­behalf, ­including Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petitions and federal court habeas-related submissions. In the summer of 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Miller v. Alabama, No. ­10-9646 (2011). Pursuant to Miller, juveniles cannot be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole except in the most limited circumstances and after an individualized inquiry of ­mitigating factors. The other associate working on the case and I exchanged instant ­messages about how Miller applied to Jones. We were ecstatic. Within a few days we had drafted a new PCRA petition based upon Miller and filed it with the Court of Common Pleas.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]