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Missouri juveniles in prison for life, still face uncertain fate

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Prison sentences for Missouri juveniles convicted of first-degree murder remain uncertain because lawmakers did not pass a new sentencing scheme before adjourning.

Under state law, people under 18 convicted of first-degree murder are automatically sentenced to life without parole. But a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision said such automatic sentences are unconstitutional.

The high court said states had to consider an offender's upbringing and role in the crime before sentencing a juvenile to life without parole.

Republican Sen. Bob Dixon, of Springfield, proposed legislation that would have left life without parole as a possibility but also would have allowed juveniles to be given a 50-year prison term. But it stalled in the closing days of the Legislature's session that ended last week

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