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MI changing course on mandatory minimum sentences

Hugh Clarke Jr. photo
Courtesy photo
/
Ingham County District Court

One of the criminal justice issues being discussed during this year’s One Book, One Community program is mandatory minimum sentences. The Michigan Supreme Court eliminated mandatory minimums earlier this year. We talk with District Court Judge Hugh Clarke Jr. and MSU criminal justice professor Christopher Smith in advance of a forum on the subject tonight.

In July, the Michigan Supreme Court voted 5-2 to strike down parts of state law regarding sentencing guidelines, making them advisory rather than mandatory. Judges now will decide on the minimum amount of a prison sentence range.

The One Book, One Community program in East Lansing and at MSU this year is focusing on prison issues such as the death penalty and life sentences for young offenders. Tonight, there will be a panel discussion on mandatory minimum sentencing requirements. The forum starts at 7 p-m at the Broad Art Museum on the MSU campus.

Tonight’s program will be moderated by Hugh Clarke Jr., a 54-A District Court Judge in Lansing, and one panelist is MSU Criminal Justice professor Christopher Smith. Current State talks with Clarke and Smith about the ramifications of eliminating mandatory minimum prison sentences in Michigan.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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