PENNSYLVANIA

High court issues new congressional map

Pennsylvania’s high court issued a new congressional district map for the state’s 2018 elections on its self-imposed deadline Monday, all but ensuring that Democratic prospects will improve in several seats and that Republican lawmakers will challenge it in federal court as they seek to protect their advantage in the U.S. House.

The map of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts is to be in effect for the May 15 primary and substantially overhauls a congressional map widely viewed as among the nation’s most gerrymandered. The map was approved in a 4-to-3 decision.

Most significantly, the new map probably gives Democrats a better shot at winning seats in Philadelphia’s heavily populated and moderate suburbs, where Republicans had held seats in bizarrely contorted districts.

The Democratic-majority state Supreme Court ruled last month in a party-line decision that the district boundaries unconstitutionally put partisan interests above neutral line-drawing criteria.

— Associated Press

LOUISIANA

Man, 71, denied parole after serving 54 years

A 71-year-old Louisiana inmate whose case led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on sentencing for juvenile offenders was denied parole, more than a half-century after he killed a sheriff’s deputy at age 17.

A three-member panel from the state parole board voted 2 to 1 to keep Henry Montgomery imprisoned. The hearing was his first chance at freedom since his conviction decades ago, and a vote to free him would have had to be unanimous. Montgomery now must wait another two years before he can request another parole hearing.

The Supreme Court’s January 2016 decision in Montgomery’s case opened the door for roughly 2,000 other juvenile offenders to argue for their release after receiving mandatory life-without-parole sentences.

Montgomery has served 54 years in prison for shooting East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy Charles Hurt in 1963, less than two weeks after Montgomery’s 17th birthday. In June, a state judge who resentenced Montgomery to life with the possibility of parole called him a “model prisoner” who seemed to be rehabilitated.

— Associated Press