Bill To End Automatic Life Sentences For Juveniles Clears State Senate

Oct 24, 2013

People serving mandatory life sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles would not get a chance at re-sentencing, under a bill approved Thursday by the state Senate.

We have more from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher.

It’s been more than a year since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled automatic life sentences without parole for minors cruel and unusual. This legislation would bring the state in compliance with that decision.

Republican state Senator Rick Jones sponsored the bill. He says he’s open to exploring whether the ruling should apply to people already behind bars – just not right now.

“I understand my colleagues’ feelings about wanted to go retroactive,” he says.  “I would suggest that would best be handled in another bill.”

But Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says he does not have any interest in revisiting the issue. The legislation now goes to the state House.