"On January 1, 1995, in the early morning hours, 17-year-old A.M. committed a crime in Virginia that would change his life forever. Tragically, he and two co-defendants took a man’s life. He will live the rest of his life regretting that day and working to become a better person. Something else significant happened on January 1, 1995˗˗Virginia’s legislation to abolish discretionary parole went into effect. (See Va. Code §53.1-165.1) If he had committed the crime one day earlier, A.M. would have been eligible for parole years ago. Under the new law, however, any person sentenced to a term of incarceration for a felony offense committed on or after that date would not be parole eligible. This was only the beginning of Virginia’s get tough on crime era. In A.M.’s case, it meant that he received a mandatory death-in-prison sentence." [..]

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