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I would like to advocate for legislation within my home state of New Hampshire which would allow for a parole hearing for anyone having served 25+ years. Such a law would eliminate life without parole for present and future such convictions. Is such legislation that effectively overrules a court imposed sentence even allowable? (I realize there have been supreme court actions to constrain the death penalty but perhaps that's different because it's a constitutional matter(??)) To complicate matters further, an existing NH truth in sentencing statute would seem to conflict with the notion that any such change is possible.

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  • We cannot advise what you should do, or how you should present such a proposal to a legislator., The politics stack might have some advice on that. We can answer on the effect of the various legal provisions involved. Sep 1, 2021 at 20:28
  • Legislatures have legal experts on staff to help them draft legislation. If they can be convinced that this is good policy and politically acceptable, they should have no trouble drafting legislation to implement it, and resolving conflicts with existing legislation. If it turns out that the truth in sentencing law would need to be repealed or amended, well, the legislature certainly has the power to do that. Sep 1, 2021 at 20:36

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Is such legislation that effectively overrules a court imposed sentence even allowable?

Yes. Amnesty legislation is allowed.

For example, the U.S. Congress recently passed such legislation with regard to crack cocaine sentences. Legislation changing sentences for crimes is presumed to be prospective only, but this presumption can be overcome with clear statutory language to the contrary.

As a political matter, however, district attorneys usually lobby strenuously against amnesty legislation, feeling that it sets a bad (political) precedent.

an existing NH truth in sentencing statute would seem to conflict with the notion that any such change is possible.

In the event of a direct conflict between an older statute and a newer statute that can't be resolved by any other interpretive method, the newer statute prevails over the older one, even if this result isn't expressly identified in the legislation.

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