Monday, February 11, 2008

Senate Bill to Lower Penalties for Juveniles Who Commit Felony Murder to Get Hearing Monday

A Senate bill that would make juveniles who are convicted of felony murder eligible for juvenile sentencing even if convicted as adults will get a hearing Monday, Feb. 11.

Under current Colorado law, a juvenile convicted as an adult for participating in a crime that leads to a person's death can be convicted of a class 1 felony and sentenced to life in adult prison. That principle holds even if conviction of the juvenile is based solely on his or her presence at the crime scene or involvement in the crime that leads to someone's death and not on any actual participation in the killing of another person.

SB 66 would change that. The proposal would not affect juveniles who are convicted of actually killing someone. It would say only that juveniles, charged and convicted in adult court with participating in a crime in which someone dies as a result of someone else's actions, would be eligible for conviction of a class 2 felony in that situation and be able to be sentenced to the juvenile corrections system.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora, and Rep. Rosemary Marshall, D-Denver.