The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down state laws that allow juveniles to be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Michigan is one of several states that allowed juveniles to be sentenced to life without parole.
The U.S. Supreme Court says life without parole for crimes that occurred when a felon was younger than 18 is excessive and violates the Eighth Amendment. Michigan has more than 350 people in state prisons serving life without parole for crimes committed as juveniles. The American Civil Liberties Union says they can either ask to be re-sentenced or granted a parole hearing. The decision will also likely require the Legislature to re-write Michigan’s juvenile sentencing standards.
The ACLU also filed a separate challenge – on largely the same grounds -- to Michigan’s juvenile lifer law two years ago in federal court. It’s not clear how the Supreme Court decision will affect the future of that case.