Federal judge says hundreds of juvenile lifers should have new sentencing hearings
A federal judge says 363 inmates in Michigan prisons sentenced to life without parole as juveniles will get new sentencing hearings.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that laws like Michigan’s that automatically send some juveniles to prison for life with no chance of parole are “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Attorney General Bill Schuette has been trying to limit the scope of the ruling to five inmates who challenged their sentences and to all future cases. He says families of murder victims deserved the certainty of knowing those sentences would stand.
The American Civil Liberties Union says an unconstitutional law is unconstitutional no matter who it’s applied to. The ACLU says every juvenile lifer should get a new hearing where a judge has to articulate specific reasons for handing down a sentence.
The Legislature is also busy rewriting Michigan’s sentencing law to comply with the Supreme Court ruling.
Schuette issued a statement saying he “strongly disagrees” with the ruling.
“It’s important to note that this is not a final order, nor does it require the State of Michigan to initiative any parole hearings at this time,” Schuette’s statement continued. The Attorney General promises to final an appeal after a final order is entered in the case. …