State House Passes Bill Leaving It Up To courts To Give “Juvenile Lifers” Shot At Parole

Feb 4, 2014

Advocates for so-called “juvenile lifers” are blasting legislation approved Tuesday by the state House.

As The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher reports, it would deny those inmates a chance at parole.

That’s unless the Michigan Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court rule otherwise.

The bill would bring Michigan law into compliance with a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. It said automatic life sentences without parole for minors are unconstitutional. But it didn’t say whether the ruling applied to people already serving those sentences.

Democratic state Representative Rudy Hobbs says that should be a no-brainer.

“Where’s the humanity or justice in a Legislature giving the opportunity for parole to one juvenile but not the other?” he asks.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says giving juvenile lifers a chance at re-sentencing would be too painful for victims’ families.