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MA lawmakers weigh parole for young murder convicts

BOSTON (AP) -- Relatives of murder victims were among those asking a legislative committee to approve a bill that would require juveniles convicted of first-degree murder to serve at least 35 years before they can be eligible for parole.

The measure is one of several filed in response to recent rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that sentencing juveniles to life without parole is unconstitutional.

The rulings have forced the Legislature to re-examine the state's current law, which requires life without parole for juveniles who are tried as adults and convicted of first-degree murder.

Senate Republican leader Bruce Tarr, who sponsored the bill along with Democratic Sen. Barry Finegold, said Wednesday the measure would strike a balance between the rights of juvenile offenders and the families of victims.

AP-WF-05-14-14 1738GMT

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