AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas senators have acted quickly on Gov. Rick Perry's call to approve a new punishment for 17-year-olds convicted of capital murder.
The Senate Criminal Justice Committee met Wednesday and approved a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole for at least 40 years.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the previous mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole was cruel and unusual punishment. The Legislature is meeting in special session, and Perry added the juvenile justice issue to the agenda on Tuesday.
The committee unanimously approved the measure because currently there is no constitutional punishment for 17-year-olds who commit capital murder. Criminals that age are tried as adults in Texas, while juveniles from 14 to 16-years old already face life in prison with a 40-year minimum.
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