Why is it that a person can be convicted with life and additional years?

For example: The West Memphis 3 is the name given to three teenagers who were tried and convicted of the murders of three children in the Robin Hood Hills area of West Memphis, Arkansas, United States in 1993. Damien Echols was sentenced to death. Jessie Misskelley, Jr., was sentenced to life in prison, plus 40 years (he received two 20-year sentences in addition to the life sentence).

How is it that Jessie Misskelley was sentenced to life in prison AND an additional fourty years? I mean, do they expect him to have fourty years jail time once he is dead and gone? It just doesn't make sense.

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Even if you get a life sentence, you can be paroled, OR if you are lucky, the courts can reduced the original sentence or even to be found not guilty if there is a retrial... but if you still have the additional years you will stay in jail.

    So the D.A. can't assume that a life sentence will be really a "life sentence", he/she knows that many things can get it reduced... so he/she has nothing to lose by adding additional charges and additional time if it's possible. So if you are charged with three murders you can get three life sentences.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    To be honest, our sentencing is the laughing stock of the world, How can you send someone to jail for 150 years, as you say when they are dead, do they prop the corpse up in the cell untill the time is up?. it is all to do with percentages. When someone is sentenced to 100 years in jail it is obvious that he cannot do the time because he will be dead before the time is up, but could be in his state they allow paroles after you have done 20 percent of you time, that means you will still have to do 20plus years, instead of being sentenced to 20 years and be out after doing 2 or 3 years. In some states a life sentence means that you can be paroled after 15 years so if you get a sentence of life plus 40 years, you can see the guy is never going to see the light of day again. Hope that helps.

  • 1 decade ago

    To ensure there is no release of the prisoner for "good time", and/or parole. They meant life (and death) in prison, not 20 years and out.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Life + 40 == NO Parole. NO time-off for good behavior.

    =

    He will die with free room && board for the rest of his life.

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