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Scully to Legislature: Don’t Soften Sentencing for Juvies

Yee says rehab still possible

Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully announced her opposition yesterday to a pending bill in the state assembly that would loosen sentencing for juveniles convicted of first degree murder with special circumstances.

The legislation, SB399, would allow first degree murderers with special circumstances aged 16 to 18 sentenced to life without parole the chance of having their sentience modified to permit parole.

“The penalty of life with parole is reserved for the worst crimes, by the worst criminals” Scully said. “This bill would re-victimize the murder victim’s family, forcing them to re-live the events through court hearings and the parole process.”

Scully said that current law offer judges discretion the offer parole in murder cases even when a jury found special circumstances to be true. This, along with prosecutorial discretion, provides sufficient safeguards against overly harsh sentences’.

'Children have a greater capacity for rehabilitation than adults'
SB 399 was introduced by Sen. Leland Yee. D-San Francisco. In a prepared statement Yee defended the legislation.

“ SB 399 recognizes that children have a greater capacity for rehabilitation than adults. The neuroscience is clear; brain maturation continues well through adolescence and thus impulse control, planning, and critical thinking skills are still not yet fully developed. SB 399 reflects that science and provides the opportunity for compassion and rehabilitation that we should exercise with minors.”

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