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Sara Kruzan, a California woman who killed her former pimp as a teenager, is set to be released after originally being sentenced to life in prison.
Kruzan had been serving 25 years to life on a commuted sentence. But a parole board is expected to grant her freedom after serving more than 15 years behind bars, CBS News reports.
Why? It's all because of a new California law regarding juvenile life sentences.
Change in Juvenile Justice
Luckily for Kruzan and others sentenced as juveniles to life in prison, California instituted a new sentencing reform law which allows judges to reconsider sentences for juvenile convicts who have served at least 15 years in prison.
The state law went into effect in January. According to The Associated Press, State Sen. Leland Yee hoped that the law would recognize that "young people's brains and impulse control grow as they age."
Under the new law, Kruzan was granted a new sentencing hearing in January, when a judge reduced her first degree murder count to second degree murder, making her eligible for parole, reports CBS.
Gov. Jerry Brown also acted by signing a bill requiring parole boards to give "special consideration" to juveniles tried as adults who have served at least 15 years in prison. According to the Los Angeles Times, this allowed Kruzan to get a parole hearing in September, when the parole board recommended her late-October release.
Parole in California
While it seems likely that Kruzan will be granted freedom, she will still have to abide by the rules of California's parole system.
Like the probation system, parole is a conditional release for prisoners who have either served their sentences or have qualified for early release.
Those on life sentences in California have the possibility of parole, and in the case of murder convicts, the governor has the option to review the parole board's decision. In Kruzan's case, CBS reports that Gov. Brown has allowed the parole board's recommendation to stand by not reviewing her case.
Once on probation, Kruzan will be subject to warrantless searches ("parole searches") that will allow law enforcement to search her person and even her home without a warrant and without probable cause.
If police find evidence of a crime during one of these searches, Kruzan can potentially end up back in prison.