The Central Coast’s state legislators oppose a bill that would end life-without-parole sentences for juveniles.
SB 9, which goes to the full Assembly next week and then, if it passes, to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature, would allow courts to review such cases after 15 years.
It could lead to some of the prisoners receiving a new minimum sentence of 25 years to life. To qualify for the review under the legislation, the convict would have to show remorse and be working toward rehabilitation.
There are 290 people in California serving life without parole for crimes they committed as juveniles.
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While the bill’s supporters call it humane, Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian and state Sen. Sam Blakeslee, both San Luis Obispo Republicans, oppose it.
In an email to The Tribune, Achadjian wrote that the bill “will almost exclusively apply to persons who were convicted of first-degree murder under the most egregious circumstances.”
Achadjian wrote that there are already statutes that allow judges to reduce such sentences.
“Like most law enforcement groups,” he wrote, “I believe current law offers safeguards against improperly sentencing a minor to life without parole.”
Blakeslee, too, wrote that there are current safeguards against sentencing such minors improperly. He added that prosecutors and sentencing judges have discretion in charging and sentencing.