Often the same distinction is used by state legislators to get elected and re-elected.
News media outlets all compete for attention, to sell advertising and make a profit. "DA seeks life to teen rapist!" "DA may seek life for young sex criminal!" "Jury may sentence serial hoodlum to life in prison!"
Here's the real question - is a particular case about the victim and perpetrator, or is it about someone seeking power and/or money at the expense of someone who may then spend life in prison whether it is really justified or equal justice.
The United States could be the only nation in the world where a 13-year-old child can be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole, even for crimes that do not include murder.