Michigan Supreme Court Will Decide Whether A Governor Can Reverse A Pardon

Jul 8, 2013

The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether Governor Jennifer Granholm exceeded her authority when she reversed her decision to commute the life sentence of a convicted murderer.

The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta reports.

Matthew Makowski is serving a sentence of life without parole for murder and armed robbery. During her final days in office, Governor Granholm used her executive authority to commute his sentence to make him eligible for parole. The paperwork was filed and sent to the state Department of Corrections. But before it was delivered to the inmate, some of the victim’s family members objected to the possibility that Makowski might one day be freed. Granholm reversed her decision, but Makowski says it was too late. He says the governor has the power to commute sentences, but the Michigan Constitution does not make provisions to reverse that decision later on. He also says his due process rights were violated. Makowski lost in lower courts.