Honorable Abel Herrero, Chair, House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence
Ursula Parks, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB72 by Canales (Relating to the punishment for a capital felony committed by an individual younger than 18 years of age.), As Introduced
The bill would amend the Penal Code as it relates to the punishment for a capital felony committed by an individual younger than 18 years of age. Under the provisions of the bill, any individual convicted of a capital felony in which the state does not seek the death penalty and who was 17 years old or less at the time of the offense shall be punished by a term of imprisonment of 25 to 99 years. Persons convicted under this provision would not be eligible for parole until they had served, without consideration of good conduct time, 25 calendar years in prison.
The bill would also amend the Penal Code to state that a person convicted of a capital felony and sentenced to a term of 25 to 99 years in prison is considered to have been convicted of a first degree felony. The provision would apply only to an offense committed on or after the effective date of the bill. All other provisions of the bill apply to a criminal action for which a final conviction exists on the effective date of the bill if the defendant is serving a sentence of life without parole for the offense and was younger than 18 years of age at the time the offense was committed and any other criminal action pending, on appeal, or commenced on or after the effective date, regardless of whether the criminal action is based on an offense committed before, on, or after that date. The bill takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house. If the bill does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, the bill takes effect on the 91st day after the last day of the legislative session.
It is assumed that the number of offenders incarcerated under this statute would not significantly impact state correctional agency resources. As of August 31, 2012, there were 26 individuals in prison for a capital offense who were serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole and who were 17 years old or less at the time of the offense. Based on those offenders currently incarcerated and subject to the provisions of the bill, the full impact of the bill's provisions will first be realized in fiscal year 2033 and continue through subsequent fiscal years.