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How long is a life sentence?

A North Carolina Supreme Court decision on the length of a "life" sentence may force the state to release 20 violent offenders this month.

Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court upheld a decision in the case of Bobby Bowden, who was convicted of two murders, the Associated Press reported. A 1974 law defined a life sentence as 80 years. Because Bowden has accrued time off for good behavior and time served, he has argued that his life sentence is complete.

The old law has Department of Correction officials worried about having to release some 120 inmates sentenced when the law was in place, according to the AP. Gov. Beverly Perdue has asked state lawyers to try to reverse or delay the release. Seven of those who could get released were originally sentenced to death.

Answer Question

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 7:34 PM on Oct. 15, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • It varies from state to state.

    Answer by Carpy at 7:37 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • i think its 25 years here

    Answer by momandytai at 7:42 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • I would think that a "life" sentence would be for the rest of your life especially if it is with the condition of "no parole". I am surprised my ultr-liberal governor, Mrs. Perdue, would want to postpone the release. I would have thought she would have been at the gates to welcome him out. Just goes to show people can still surprise.

    Answer by jesse123456 at 7:51 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • So SO glad we moved back to this damn state> NOT! I don't think she has a loyal following, she has pissed a lot of folks off from what I hear. Unless the sentence states 'without parole' they have a chance to get out early. It's a mess.

    Answer by Raine2001 at 7:58 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • Oklahoma (where I lived before Alaska) it depends on the crime, past offenses, and time served. A person was sentenced to life, but because he had time served and had no prior arrests he only got 25 years. It needs to be changed to have a set amount like Oh I dunno 200 years sounds good!

    Answer by Crissy1213 at 8:00 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • Not long enough...

    Answer by But_Mommie at 8:51 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • It you get a "life" sentence, you should be in jail til your life is OVER


    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 9:44 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • Yep, life is over. I agree. Lock em up throw away the key.

    Answer by lovinangels at 11:43 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • I think for the majority of places it's 25 years, although I agree with the previous posters that life means life!

    Answer by crystac at 11:57 PM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • Bring back the chair.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:51 PM on Oct. 16, 2009

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