Juvenile life sentences debated at Louisiana Capitol
BATON ROUGE- Republican Senator Dan Claitor presented his bill to eliminate life sentences for juveniles without parole Tuesday.
Hearing it in his Senate Judiciary Committee, Claitor argued to grant the possibility of parole after the juvenile serves 30 years of their sentence.
Claitor is attempting to bring Louisiana law in compliance with two rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court which found it unconstitutional to sentence juveniles for life without the possibility of eventual freedom.
"We're hoping to balance victims' rights with what the Supreme Court told us to do," said Claitor.
If passed, about 300 Louisiana prisoners could become eligible for parole after 30 years with good behavior.
Under the current language, Senate Bill 16 would still allow for a life sentence without parole for a juvenile convicted of first-degree murder who also had their character examined in a special hearing.