TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida legislature has passed a bill that re-works mandatory life sentences for juveniles.
The bill passed the House 115-0 Friday evening and passed the Senate 36-0 last week. It now awaits the signature of Gov. Rick Scott.
The bill (HB 7035) would bring Florida law in line with a U.S. Supreme Court 2012 ruling that says that life without parole for juveniles violates the Constitution's ban against cruel and unusual punishment, leaving Florida law in need of an update. The bill leaves the mandatory minimum for first-degree murder, creates judicial sentencing reviews and denies those reviews for those previously convicted of violent felonies before committing first-degree murder.
The U.S. Supreme Court has acknowledged that juvenile brains are still developing, and they deserve an opportunity for rehabilitation.