Kerry Shakaboona Marshall has been serving an unconstitutional sentence of life without parole (LWOP) since 1988 that was imposed when he was still a child of 17 years old. Although Shakaboona was sentenced to die in prison and has spent more than 27 years incarcerated, recent decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court provide an opportunity for him to be re-sentenced and eventually released from prison.
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court held mandatory LWOP sentences unconstitutional when imposed on children in the case of Miller v. Alabama. In the 2016 case of Montgomery v. Louisiana, the Court held that its decision in Miller applies retroactively to convictions that have long since been final such as in Shakaboona’s case. This means that Shakaboona is entitled to be re-sentenced.
From within the restraints of prison:
- Shakaboona has held the positions of: Vice-President of the PA Lifers Association at SCI-Huntingdon, Committee Chairperson of the NAACP Graterford Branch, President of the Para-Professional Law Clinic at SCI-Graterford, and Secretary of the Regents Betterment Organization at SCI-Mahanoy.
- He is the founder or co-founder of several groups that are located outside of prison walls, namely: Families United (FU), Families of Prisoners & Communities Union (FCU), and the Human Rights Coalition (HRC).
- He is the co-founder and Editor of The Movement magazine, a human rights advocacy publication with subscribers nationwide; it serves as a tool for public awareness and connects prisoners to the outside world.
- Shakaboona does popular radio commentary on social/political issues for Prison Radio and submits written commentary articles for the Socialist Viewpoint magazine, San Francisco Bay View newspaper, and Workers World.
Pennsylvania is the world leader in sentencing children to die in prison, with more than 500 people serving such unconstitutional sentences. Philadelphia County, where Shakaboona is from, has sentenced more than 300 children to die in prison.
No other country on the planet sentences children to die in prison.
The Abolitionist Law Center is currently pursuing Shakaboona’s right to an individualized sentencing hearing under the Miller and Montgomery cases with an aim to ensure the earliest possible return home for our client.