08/26/2011 03:22 pm ET | Updated Oct 26, 2011

California SB9 Defeated: Appeals For Minor Defendants Denied By Assembly

On Friday, the state Assembly defeated Senator Leland Yee's SB9 — a controversial bill that would have offered some offenders a chance at eventual parole for crimes committed as minors, according to SFGate.

As reported earlier by The Huffington Post, the United States is the only country that sends people under 18 to prison for life with no parole. "No other country sentences kids to die in prison," said Yee's chief of staff, Adam Keigwin. In California, juvenile offenders are ineligible for a death penalty sentence, but they can be sentenced to life with no parole, guaranteeing that they will die in prison. SB9 aimed to change that by offering a chance to appeal if a defendant served a minimum of 25 years and showed remorse and serious change.

But after an hour of debates the bill narrowly failed, short by five votes. Opponents argued that the bill would break promises to the surviving victims whose love ones were slain, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

"It seems like we, as a state, are breaking our faith with the victims if we pass this bill," said Assemblyman Don Wagner to SFGate. "They were promised the criminal justice system will protect them and take care of them."

A spokesman for Yee said supporters will likely bring the bill up for reconsideration.