The Marshall Project

He Was 17 When He Went To Prison. How Much Should That Matter To The Parole Board?

If William Palmer wins in court, thousands could get closer to exiting California prisons.

SAN FRANCISCO — When William Palmer was 17, he accosted a man in a parking garage, pointing a gun at him and demanding money. Palmer ordered the man to go to an ATM and withdraw cash.

Palmer didn’t know it, but the victim was an off-duty police officer, who pulled out his own gun and shot at the teen 15 times, hitting him in the knee. Palmer ran but was soon caught.

It was 1988. Many states had recently passed laws increasing

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