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Cal. JLWOP Bill Fails

Sheila Kumar reports for AP:

Legislation intended to give juveniles a second chance after they have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole has failed in the state Assembly.

SB9 by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco received 36 votes Thursday, five short of the majority needed.

However, last tally I received showed the bill up to 40, just one short.

California judges already have the discretion to sentence any 16- or 17-year-old first-degree murderer to life-with-parole instead of life-without-parole.  The cases at issue are only those where the sentencing judge determined that life-without-parole was appropriate.

Update (8/26):  The final tally is 36-36 with 8 members not voting.  Four members listed as voting "aye" in an electronic vote-board snapshot yesterday afternoon are listed as not voting in the final tally:  Alejo, Campos, Hall, and Mendoza.  (In the California Legislature, there is no practical difference between not voting and voting no.  An affirmative vote of a majority of the membership is required for passage.)  Once an unpopular bill can be seen not to pass, a member can turn down the political heat by changing his vote.  Not exactly "profiles in courage" material.  Even so, it will be that much harder for these members to flip and vote for essentially the same bill next year (an election year) when Yee brings it up again.

Update 2:  Karen de Sa has this story in the San Jose Mercury News.

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