The divide over the issue of juvenile justice was a mere crack in the sidewalk compared with the bridgeless gulf separating lawmakers over abortion, but it nonetheless was wide enough to delay passage of a necessary bill closing a sentencing loophole for 17-year-olds convicted of capital murder through sessions regular and special. Last week, legislators finally resolved their differences and agreed to mandate a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 40 years.
A 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision forced legislators to make the change to Texas law, which had mandated 17-year-olds be sentenced to life in prison without parole. The mandatory no-parole law was out of step with the court’s declaration that life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders were unconstitutional.
The story you're reading is premium content from the Austin American-Statesman. Subscribers get total access to all our in-depth news, digital editions and exclusive premium content. You can now also buy a 24-hour digital pass or 7-day digital pass.
For Subscribers: Sign in here if you have already registered your account.Sign In
For Subscribers: Register your account for digital access.Access Digital
Read MyStatesman.com now — 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24-hours
Read MyStatesman.com all week — 7-day digital pass$3.99 for 7-days
Subscribe to the Statesman for as little as 33¢ per dayView Offers