Statement from Cynthia Short, Bryan Sheppard's Attorney on Today's US Supreme Court Ruling

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court has given hope to potentially thousands of inmates sentenced as children to life without the possibility of parole (LWOP). In its 6-3 ruling in the case of Montgomery v. Louisiana, written by Justice Kennedy, the Court states that “children who commit even heinous crimes are capable of change.” Consistent with the Court’s rulings in a series of cases over the past 10 years, children are different in ways that make the mandatory, permanent sentence of life without parole completely inappropriate. Though mandatory sentencing of LWOP was ruled unconstitutional in Miller v. Alabama, states differed widely on applying the ruling retroactively.
Kansas City native, Bryan Sheppard was 17 years old in November 1988. Eight years later he and 4 others were charged with arson causing the deaths of six (6) local firefighters. The Supreme Court ruling provides that Mr. Sheppard who has served nearly 20 years in prison is entitled to re-sentncing.  Bryan Sheppard has been a model prisoner. He has participated in numerous programs in prison and he has maintained close relationships with his daughter and grand children. 

Bryan's struggle for freedom and justice will be highlighted in JUSTICE IN THE EMBERS a production of StoryWorks KC and KCPT, and the Center for  Investigative Reporting. The play opens at the Living Room, 1818 McGee on February 4 and runs through February 20, 2016. The play is based in part on reporting by Mike McGraw, formerly of the Kansas City Star.

Contact Attorney Cynthia Short
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