Texas Senate Passes Juvenile Sentencing Bill

AUSTIN (June 14, 2013)—The Texas Senate voted Friday to enact a new punishment for 17-year-old offenders convicted of capital murder that includes the possibility for parole after 40 years.

Texas law currently requires a mandatory life sentence without parole for those offenders, but the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such sentences are cruel and unusual punishment for minors and unconstitutional.

The Senate vote sent the bill to the House.

Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, said there are more than 25 people in Texas prisons whom courts sentenced to life in prison for crimes committed as juveniles.

Once signed by Gov. Rick Perry, prosecutors have said they will ask the governor to reduce the mandatory life sentences already passed on juveniles to allow for parole.

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