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Nebraska Juvenile Sentencing Bill Goes to Governor

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Nebraska lawmakers have passed a bill that would set a new sentencing range for murderers who committed their crimes as juveniles.

The bill that sets the range for sentencing at 40 years to life won final approval Thursday with a 38-1 vote. The bill will now go to Gov. Dave Heineman.

Omaha Sen. Brad Ashford, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, introduced the bill after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional.

Ashford wanted to set a 30-year minimum sentence for juvenile offenders. This proposal is a compromise between those that backed a 30-year minimum and those, such as Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh who proposed a 60-year minimum sentence.

The proposal allows judges to consider cases on an individual basis and look at mitigating factors, such as age and efforts made towards rehabilitation.

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