State's top court to determine whether juries sentence teens

Jan 25, 2017

The Michigan Supreme Court says it will settle whether juries — not judges — have the sole power to decide whether someone under 18 gets life in prison without parole.

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — In an order released Wednesday, the court will take the case of Tia Skinner, who was a 17-year-old honors student in St. Clair County when she plotted to have her father killed in 2010.Skinner is serving a no-parole sentence.Lawyers representing teens convicted of murder have argued that Michigan juries needed to make a specific determination that someone had no hope of being rehabilitated and deserved a no-parole sentence.There have been conflicting opinions on that point at the state appeals court. The court in 2016 created a special panel, which said the sentencing duty rests with trial judges.