The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether more than 300 inmates sentenced to life without parole for murders committed while they were juveniles are entitled to parole hearings.
As The Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta tells us, that’s just one question the court will consider regarding the state’s juvenile lifer law.
The court agreed to decide whether a US Supreme Court decision that struck down automatic life without parole for juveniles applies only to current and future cases -- or whether juvenile lifers already in prison at the time of the decision also deserve hearings that take into consideration factors such as abuse, neglect and coercion. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says applying the decision to past cases would be needlessly cruel to families who thought their cases were settled and done.
The Supreme Court also agreed to decide whether life without parole for juveniles convicted of *assisting* in a murder is cruel or unusual punishment under the Michigan Constitution.