California lawmakers are sending Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would allow some juvenile murderers the chance to get out of prison on parole.
The state Senate approved Senate Bill 9 on a 21-16 vote today, the bare minimum necessary for it to clear its last legislative hurdle. Brown has until the end of September to act on it.
The bill by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco would allow some murderers to petition for a hearing to have their sentence changed to 25 years to life, allowing them to later petition for parole. Several conditions would apply: They would have to have been under 18 when they committed a murder that got them life in prison with no possibility of parole. They also would have to have already served at least 15 years of their sentence, and wouldn't be released until they had served at least 25 years. And they would have to have been convicted with at least one adult co-defendant.
Some criminals would not be eligible -- those with a history of violence before the murder conviction, those who had tortured their victims, and those who had killed a firefighter or law enforcement official.
Yee said the bill would only apply when offenders showed remorse and when "it is a very clear case where an individual has made amends and demonstrated that they are not going to re-offend."
Democratic senators Lou Correa of Santa Ana and Michael Rubio of Shafter joined Republicans in voting against the bill. Democrats Ron Calderon and Fran Pavley did not vote.
"It is absolutely outrageous that were going to release these little psychopaths out into the streets to murder again," said Sen. Joel Anderson, a Republican from Alpine.