Radio Made in Michigan
4:51 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Schuette To Prosecutors: Don’t Resentence Juvenile Lifers

There’s a difference of opinion between state Attorney General Bill Schuette and the American Civil Liberties Union on how prosecutors should handle a U-S Supreme Court decision.

Credit WKAR File Photo

It struck down sentences of mandatory life without parole for juveniles.

The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta reports.

Schuette sent a letter to prosecutors that says a federal judge’s opinion is not binding on them. The judge said last month that lifers sent to prison as juveniles are entitled to parole hearings

Schuette’s office did not return phone calls, but A-C-L-U attorney Deborah LaBelle says the letter is out of bounds. She says the attorney general can appeal the decision, but he should not tell prosecutors to ignore it.

“They may disagree with that ruling,"  she says.  "That’s fine. I understand. But it’s the law right now.”

Schuette has opposed extending the reach of the decision to the Michigan prisoners sentenced as juveniles to life without parole. There are more than 350 people of them. He’s said it’s not fair to force the families of murder victims to relive their tragedies.