Gov. Patrick wants fewer life terms for youths - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Gov. Patrick wants fewer life terms for youths

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BOSTON (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – Two major pieces of legislation are being introduced at the Statehouse Monday.

In one, authorities want more leeway to track suspects. In the other, Gov. Deval Patrick wants to offer convicted teens a second chance – much earlier in their sentence.

Governor Patrick is proposing new plans on the way the state treats teenagers convicted of murder. If passed, anyone aged 14-17 charged with first or second-degree murder would be tried in juvenile court and not as an adult.

It's currently an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole for convicted murderers, but in this new proposal, those convicted would be eligible for parole hearings 15 years after their incarceration.
    
That part of the proposal is a problem for Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone, who said in a statement that in absence of life without parole, those who kill with premeditation or extreme cruelty should serve at least 35 years before they are eligible for release.
    
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled automatic life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional.

The Bay State has 62 people currently serving life sentences for murders committed when they 15 to 17 years old.

There will also be a debate over new wiretapping laws on Beacon Hill Monday. Attorney General Martha Coakley wants to extend laws to allow authorities to secretly record more suspects who are targeted in murder investigations and other violent crimes.
    
The current law only allows listening in on those involved in organized crime.  The bill would also extend the length of a wiretap from 15 to 30 days.
    
This law has not been updated since 1968 and Coakley claims police are at a significant disadvantage in tracking murder suspects.
    
Those opposing the changes say this will monitor private conversations for weeks and would intrude on the privacy of an innocent person speaking to a suspect.

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