Michigan Court Of Appeals Hears Arguments On Juvenile Lifer Case

Oct 16, 2012

Judges on a Michigan Court of Appeals panel say state lawmakers should figure out how to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on so-called “juvenile lifers.”

In the case Miller versus Alabama, the Supreme Court said mandatory life sentences with no parole for juvenile offenders are unconstitutional. Now, the Michigan Court of Appeals is trying to decide if the state needs to re-sentence those juvenile lifers already serving.

Presiding Judge Michael Talbot said he doesn’t feel comfortable effectively re-writing state law from the bench, but may have to if the state Legislature doesn’t act.

Patricia Selby is an attorney for one of nearly 360 juvenile lifers behind bars in Michigan.

"The Legislature absolutely has to act in response to Miller, and to give these juvenile offenders the individualized look that Miller requires,” she says.

Those opposed to applying the decision retroactively say there’s no precedent to do so.