News Release: Associated Press News
By KAREEM COPELAND
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Senate has amended a bill from the House that re-works mandatory life sentences for juveniles.
The bill passed 36-0 Wednesday and was sent back to the House.
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 amendment, sponsored by Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, 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.