SB 481 – (Durazo) Status: 06/03/2021 Ordered to inactive file on request of Senator Durazo. Background: California law permits young people between the ages of 18 and 25 years old to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The California legislature has taken steps in recent years to align public policy with advances in scientific research supporting Youth Offender Parole hearings (YOP) for young people under 25. Most recently, California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu stated in his concurring opinion of People v. Montelongo that, “there is good reason for legislative reconsideration" of the Youth Offender Parole statute, expanding it to allow individuals sentenced to LWOP at or before age 25. Justice Liu stated that the current YOP eligibility scheme – which excludes individuals sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for offenses committed between ages 18 and 25 – may “stand in tension” with Miller v Alabama (2012). Research and evidence on adult development and neuroscience have established that certain areas of the brain, particularly those affecting decision making and judgment, do not fully develop until the early-to-mid-twenties. . . . SB 481 provides individuals sentenced to LWOP for crimes committed when the person was 25 years of age or younger, the right to petition for a resentencing hearing after serving 15 years of their original sentence.
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