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Juvenile sentencing bill heads to Branstad despite criticism

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Legislature has passed a bill this session that would allow Iowa courts to continue sentencing juveniles to life in prison without the possibility of parole.The legislation would change current state law on sentencing juveniles convicted of murder and other heinous crimes. Some of those convictions previously led to mandatory sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Recent U.S. and state supreme court rulings have challenged that.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says it has several problems with the bill. It's considering legal action if a future court ruling doesn't address the issue.

Supporters of the bill say it offers uniformity in an upended legal process. It now heads to Gov. Terry Branstad. A spokesman says the governor has not yet reviewed it.

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