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Gov. Patrick Looks To Raise Juvenile Age, Eliminate Life Without Parole for Minors

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A proposal put forth by Gov. Deval Patrick looks to raise the age of what is considered a juvenile from 17 to 18 years old, while eliminating mandatory life sentences without parole for teens under 18 in the state.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled mandatory life sentences without parole are unconstitutional, although Patrick’s bill contains exceptions to the rule.

Paul Matthews of New Bedford says whether a person is 17 or 18, they have a fully developed conscience.

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Margo Green, an educator at BCC and UMass Dartmouth says the life without parole sentence sounds too heavy for young people.

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Under current state law, teens as young as 14 can be tried as adults for first-degree murder. A first-degree murder conviction in Massachusetts automatically results in a life sentence without parole.

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