22 January 2008

Limiting Juvenile Life Imprisonment

The Colorado General Assembly will be considering a bill this session, SB 08-66 that ends life imprisonment for juveniles tried as adults who are convicted of felony murder if they are not participants in the actually killing. Instead, these juveniles would be subject to second degree murder penalties, which involve very long prison sentences, but not life in prison.

Juvenile lifers in Colorado are disproportionately convicted under the felony murder statute.

Quite frankly, the reform proposed by this bill would be appropriate in all felony murder cases, but legislation is an incremental affair, and this very modest measure of mercy for juvenile offenders is a good step to take.

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