Federal Judge Says Juvenile Lifers To Get Resentencing Hearings

Aug 12, 2013

A federal judge says 363 inmates in Michigan prisons sentenced to life without parole as juveniles will get new sentencing hearings.

We have more from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta.

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 re-writing Michigan’s sentencing law to comply with the Supreme Court ruling.