On Thursday, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that two teenagers who received unnecessarily harsh adult sentences should be resentenced. Sen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, is the ranking member on the Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Committee and has followed this case from the very beginning. Following the announcement of the ruling, she issued the following statement:

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is not just a huge win for juvenile justice in our state, but a huge win for my two constituents who, combined, were faced with the prospect of spending up to 85 years in prison for stealing Halloween candy while in possession of a gun.

“From the very beginning of the case, I was concerned that 17 year old Zyion Houston-Sconiers and 16 year old Treson Roberts, were not given the opportunity to be tried within our state’s juvenile justice system. The Washington State Supreme Court today agreed with my concern. In quoting the U.S. Supreme Court Case of Miller v. Alabama, today’s majority opinion states “children are different.” I could not agree more.

“Research in brain science and development shows that the critical decision making part of the brain is not developed until the age of 25. Young people are more prone to impulsive, dangerous behavior as a result. Teenagers are not adults and should not be treated as such in court. I will continue to fight for reforms within our state’s juvenile justice system that create more flexibility and judicial discretion for our juvenile offenders.

“In writing, “both cases for resentencing” these four words from our state’s highest court have changed the course of two people’s young lives. Today, justice has prevailed in the State of Washington.”