Pa. Senate OKs juvenile murder sentences options
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 07:10
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) A bill on its way to Gov. Tom Corbett's desk would give Pennsylvania judges options other than life in prison when sentencing juveniles in murder cases.
The state Senate approved it yesterday and Corbett's office says he's likely to sign it. The vote was 37-12.
The measure was spurred by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
The bill would create a new set of sentencing options, with penalties that depend on the age of the defendant and whether they're convicted of first- or second-degree murder.
Defendants 14 or younger would serve at least 20 years for second-degree convictions and 25 years for first-degree convictions. Offenders who are 15- to 17-years old would face at least 25 or 35 years.