Texas House panel approves new youth punishment

Texas House panel approves new youth punishment

By URIEL J. GARCIA
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A Texas House panel has endorsed a bill to create a mandatory life sentence with the possibility of parole after 40 years for 17-year-olds convicted of capital murder.

The Criminal Jurisprudence Committee sent the bill Wednesday to the full House, which is expected to vote before the end of the 30-day special session next week.

The bill has already passed the Senate, but House lawmakers say they may still consider more punishment options.

Currently, a 17-year-old convicted of capital murder in Texas is sentenced to life in prison without parole. But the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such a sentence is unconstitutional for minors.

Texas has more than 25 inmates sentenced to life in prison for crimes committed as juveniles.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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