Missouri prisoners convicted of murder as juveniles and sentenced to life behind bars without parole are suing the state's Corrections Department.
The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in St. Louis on Monday announced a federal judge had ruled they can move forward with the lawsuit. The center sued on behalf of prisoners, who say they're not getting a meaningful chance at parole despite recent court rulings and a new law requiring that.
Attorney General Josh Hawley is representing the Department of Corrections and had unsuccessfully tried to get U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey to toss out the lawsuit.
Hawley's Deputy Chief of Staff, Loree Anne Paradise, declined to comment, citing the pending case.
Among those whose cases could be impacted is Sheena Eastburn, formerly of southwest Missouri. Eastburn is serving a sentence of life without parole for her participation in the 1992 shooting death of her ex-husband, Tim Eastburn, in McDonald County Missouri. Sheena Eastburn was 17 years old at the time of the murder. Her attorney has argued for years that she should be made eligible for parole. Tim Eastburn's brothers have said they believe Sheena should serve the full, life sentence.