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Legislature Considers LWOP Relief for Youth Offenders

SB 481, as amended, Senator Durazo. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST. Existing law provides a punishment of imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole as a possible punishment for certain criminal offenses.


Existing law allows an inmate serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for an offense that was committed when the inmate was under 18 years of age to petition the court to have that sentence recalled and to be resentenced to a lesser sentence, as specified, if the inmate has served at least 15 years of their sentence and meets certain other specified criteria.


Existing law makes this process unavailable to any inmate serving a sentence for murder in which the inmate tortured their victim, or in which the victim was a public safety official, including a firefighter or peace officer. Existing law, the Gang Violence and Juvenile Crime Prevention Act of 1998, an initiative measure enacted by Proposition 21, as approved by the voters at the March 7, 2000, statewide primary election, among other things, imposed a sentence of death or imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole for gang-related murder.


Existing law authorizes the provisions of Proposition 21 to be amended by a statute enacted by the Legislature with a 2/3 vote. This bill would extend the applicability of these resentencing provisions to any inmate serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for an offense that was committed when the inmate was under 26 years of age.


The bill would also make the process available to those inmates serving a sentence for murder in which the inmate tortured their victim, or in which the victim was a public safety official, including a firefighter or peace officer. Because this bill would extend resentencing provisions to certain inmates serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for gang-related murder, the bill would amend Proposition 21.

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