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Hawaii kids could get parole as sentencing must

May 8, 2014 - 6:09am

HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers are following a national trend and challenging Gov. Neil Abercrombie to consider whether children convicted of first degree murder should be treated differently than murderous adults.

Abercrombie’s signature is the only step remaining for a bill (HB 2116) that would abolish life sentences without parole for minors.

An Abercrombie spokesman says he has not yet made a decision. He has until July 8 to sign or veto the proposal. He has to warn the Legislature about a potential veto by June 23.

Advocates say children are impressionable and sometimes cannot get out of horrific, crime-ridden environments.

But Honolulu prosecutors told lawmakers that it wouldn’t be fair to people who are born just weeks apart from slightly younger perpetrators of the same crime.