Bill: Teens who murder can't get death or even life without parole

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 27 2013 5:40 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Juveniles who commit aggravated murder would not be subject to the death penalty under a bill endorsed by a Senate committee Wednesday.

SB228 codifies recent Supreme Court rulings on sentences for aggravated murder for defendants who are younger than 18 when the offense occurs. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, also says a juvenile who commits aggravated murder cannot be sentenced to life without parole.

Jacey Skinner, director of the Utah Sentencing Commission, said recent Supreme Court rulings say the death penalty "is not appropriate or constitutional when that offender is a juvenile."

"It's a weighty matter but a simple bill to make our statutes fit within the Constitution," Skinner told the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.

The bill now advances to the full Senate for a vote.

Marjorie Cortez

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