A three-judge panel will make binding decisions, court officials say.

Since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in January declared unconstitutional sentences of life without parole for those prosecuted as juveniles, nearly 300 inmates affected by the decision have wondered how Philadelphia would handle those cases.

And while the city's district attorney isn't prepared to talk about how those cases will be dealt with, according to spokesman Cameron Kline, the Philadelphia judges responsible for ensuring justice in the cases explained the new guidelines for the process.

On Tuesday, the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, which handles cases in Philadelphia, issued regulation that would create a framework for court officials to organize and address those cases.

The need for such a procedure follows the Supreme Court's ruling in Montgomery v. Louisiana that determined that jailing a child for life without the possibility of parole constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Children can still be sentenced to serve life without parole, but the ruling prescribes a hearing for an individual to have the opportunity to show that "their crime did not reflect irreparable corruption."

Every state – and every county – in the nation can determine their own process to handle such cases. Some counties have simply made any juvenile sentenced to life in prison eligible for parole.

Philadelphia, the U.S. city with the highest percentage of juveniles sentenced to life without parole, will handle its nearly 300 cases differently, according to court officials.....

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