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Michigan Supreme Court Order Sets Stage For Appeal Of Juvenile Lifer Opinion

The Michigan Supreme Court won’t reconsider its decision that more than 350 juvenile lifers in state prisons won’t get parole hearings.

And, as we hear from Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta, that could send the case to the United States Supreme Court.

The US Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that mandatory life without parole for juveniles is cruel and unusual punishment -- that kids convicted of murder and other serious crimes deserve a sentencing hearing. But in eight or more cases, states have split on whether the decision only applies to new cases, or if it applies retroactively.     

Dan Korobkin is an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

“So it’s probably about time for the US Supreme Court to step in and resolve this split among the states,” he says.

The ACLU says prisoners denied a hearing when they were initially sentenced as children deserve at least a chance at parole. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says that would inflict needless suffering on the families of murder victims.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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