By Lyle Denniston

January 29, 2015

A Louisiana prison inmate whose life sentence is under review by the Supreme Court was on the verge of being released on Thursday, according to news accounts in New Orleans.  George Toca, convicted of second-degree murder nearly thirty years ago when he was seventeen years old and sentenced to life in prison without parole, was involved in a new plea bargain, those news stories said.

On December 12, the Supreme Court granted review of Toca’s case, to decide whether he could benefit from a 2012 decision limiting life-without-parole sentences for juveniles who are convicted of murder committed while still a minor.  With his murder conviction and sentence now apparently being vacated, that case could lose its legal significance for the Justices.

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