Q: A guy I know must serve a minimum sentence of 15 years, and yet he isn't eligible for parole for 35 years...
Does that mean the earliest he can get out is in 35 years?
A: Yes, based on the numbers you listed. A minimum sentence means that he must serve at least 15 years before release. Since he is not parole eligible for 35 years, he will have already served the minimum amount of 15 years. Think of it as "must serve at least 15 years. . ." Parole eligibility is usually one half of the bottom number on a prison sentence. So for example, if a person is sentenced to 10 to 20 years, he would be parole eligible in 5 years.
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