Code of the District of Columbia

§ 24–403.03(Perm). Modification of an imposed term of imprisonment for violations of law committed before 18 years of age.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court shall reduce a term of imprisonment imposed upon a defendant for an offense committed before the defendant's 18th birthday if:

(1) The defendant was sentenced pursuant to § 24-403 or § 24-403.01, or was committed pursuant to § 24-903, and has served at least 15 years in prison; and

(2) The court finds, after considering the factors set forth in subsection (c) of this section, that the defendant is not a danger to the safety of any person or the community and that the interests of justice warrant a sentence modification.

(b)(1) A defendant convicted as an adult of an offense committed before his or her 18th birthday may file an application for a sentence modification under this section. The application shall be in the form of a motion to reduce the sentence. The application may include affidavits or other written material. The application shall be filed with the sentencing court and a copy shall be served on the United States Attorney.

(2) The court may direct the parties to expand the record by submitting additional testimony, examinations, or written materials related to the motion. The court shall hold a hearing on the motion at which the defendant and the defendant's counsel shall be given an opportunity to speak on the defendant's behalf. The court may permit the parties to introduce evidence.

(3) The defendant shall be present at any hearing conducted under this section unless the defendant waives the right to be present. Any proceeding under this section may occur by video teleconferencing and the requirement of a defendant's presence is satisfied by participation in the video teleconference.

(4) The court shall issue an opinion in writing stating the reasons for granting or denying the application under this section, but the court may proceed to sentencing immediately after granting the application.

(c) The court, in determining whether to reduce a term of imprisonment pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, shall consider:

(1) The defendant's age at the time of the offense;

(2) The history and characteristics of the defendant;

(3) Whether the defendant has substantially complied with the rules of the institution to which he or she has been confined and whether the defendant has completed any educational, vocational, or other program, where available;

(4) Any report or recommendation received from the United States Attorney;

(5) Whether the defendant has demonstrated maturity, rehabilitation, and a fitness to reenter society sufficient to justify a sentence reduction;

(6) Any statement, provided orally or in writing, provided pursuant to § 23-1904 or 18 U.S.C. § 3771 by a victim of the offense for which the defendant is imprisoned, or by a family member of the victim if the victim is deceased;

(7) Any reports of physical, mental, or psychiatric examinations of the defendant conducted by licensed health care professionals;

(8) The defendant's family and community circumstances at the time of the offense, including any history of abuse, trauma, or involvement in the child welfare system;

(9) The extent of the defendant's role in the offense and whether and to what extent an adult was involved in the offense;

(10) The diminished culpability of juveniles as compared to that of adults, and the hallmark features of youth, including immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate risks and consequences, which counsel against sentencing them to lengthy terms in prison, despite the brutality or cold-blooded nature of any particular crime; and

(11) Any other information the court deems relevant to its decision.

(d) If the court denies or grants only in part the defendant's 1st application under this section, a court shall entertain a 2nd application under this section no sooner than 3 years after the date that the order on the initial application becomes final. If the court denies or grants only in part the defendant's 2nd application under this section, a court shall entertain a 3rd and final application under this section no sooner than 3 years following the date that the order on the 2nd application becomes final. No court shall entertain a 4th or successive application under this section.

(e)(1) Any defendant whose sentence is reduced under this section shall be resentenced pursuant to § 24-403, § 24-403.01, or § 24-903, as applicable.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, when resentencing a defendant under this section, the court:

(A) May issue a sentence less than the minimum term otherwise required by law; and

(B) Shall not impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or release.


(July 15, 1932, 47 Stat. 697, ch. 492, § 3; as added Apr. 4, 2017, D.C. Law 21-238, § 306(b), 63 DCR 15312; May 10, 2019, D.C. Law 22-313, § 16(b), 66 DCR 1627.)