From Mercury News:
SACRAMENTO — Criminals who were sentenced as juveniles to die in prison would get a chance at freedom if a bill approved by the Assembly becomes law.
The bill, SB9, passed the state Senate last year but failed repeatedly in the Assembly before lawmakers approved it by a single vote Thursday following a heated debate about whether redemption can coexist with justice.
The legislation would allow inmates sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for crimes they committed as minors to petition for reconsideration of their sentence after serving 15 years. A judge would then have the option of reducing their sentence to 25 years-to-life if the inmates show evidence of remorse and efforts toward rehabilitation.
Supporters say young criminals deserve second chances because their brains are not fully mature when they commit their crimes.
Gov. Jerry Brown, who previously served as California’s attorney general, has not yet taken a position on the bill, according to spokesman Gareth Lacy.
Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, who carried the bill in that chamber, urged his fellow lawmakers to bring California into line with federal recommendations. He pointed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this summer that classified mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juvenile murderers as “cruel and unusual” punishment.