Florida Supreme Court reverses juvenile parole decision

Lolita Barthel wants a chance at freedom and she might get it. 

​​​​Barthel was convicted of murder and robbery at age 19. She got life in prison without parole.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled juvenile offenders should have the right to parole.

For two years, the Florida State Supreme Court agreed, but now, an about-face.

The Florida Supreme Court has now decided, if the juvenile offender committed a crime before Florida's parole was abolished in 1994, then that inmate should go through the State Parole Board because, "there is no evidence the state's parole system fails to provide a meaningful opportunity for release," wrote Justice Ricky Polston.

Defense attorney Anthony Rickman says there is no comparison between a 10-minute parole board hearing to a lengthy re-sentencing hearing.

"The defendant has the opportunity to call witnesses, bring witnesses to court, and prove to a judge why, at the time of the offense, he was immature, why now he's matured," explained Rickman.

The reversal now affects thousands of inmates waiting for their second chance.

Rickman says the high court reversal comes down to new "conservative" justices replacing retiring "liberal" justices.

As for Lolita Barthel she made the cut.

She was sentenced after Florida's parole was abolished, but thousands of others are not as lucky.

"It now creates an issue for the court and an issue for criminal defendants why 'If I got in in the two year period why was I eligible and why now am I not?'" Rickman said.

He believes this issue could make it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.