Michigan Juveniles Sentenced to Life Receive Possible Second Chance

Do you know someone in Michigan that was sentence to life as a juvenile? They may have a second chance.

On Monday, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that juveniles sentenced to prison for life without parole as unconstitutional. This means that in Michigan, some prisoners may be eligible for release. This ruling not only has an effect on the current prisoners, but also cases tried in the future. It is difficult to say, however, how this ruling will affect Michigan’s current prisoners who had been sentence while juveniles.

This “Second Chance” legislation had been introduced by State Sen. Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor) and State Rep. Paul Condino (D-Southfield) as reported in The Michigan Citizen. Reporter, Diane Bukowski, stated:

Michigan has the third highest rate of locking up youth for life without parole in the country. Very few countries in the rest of the world even allow this practice, which was banned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948.

It will be important for the judges to give each situation individualized attention and focus on the defendant’s youth and maturity when the crime was committed.

According to an article published in the Detroit Free Press:

“The state Department of Corrections said after the decision was released in Washington that Michigan has 182 inmates who are serving no-parole life sentences for crimes committed when they were between the ages of 15-17.”

The Free Press continued to report about Michigan’s juvenile prisoner population statistics according MDOC or the Michigan Department of Corrections stating:

  • There are currently no Michigan prisoners serving no-parole life sentenced in which they committed a crime at 14.
  • 12 prisoners in Michigan are serving life terms for crimes committed at 15.
  • 46 Michigan prisoners serving such term for crimes committed at 16.
  • Ages of prisoners ranging for 16-65
  • The average of prisoners serving life sentences is 36.

This ruling continues to be controversial and some say that it may re-traumatize the victim’s family. However, Steven Babcock, a Michigan father whose 24-year-old daughter was killed by a 12-year-old is reported as stating by Detroit Free Press reporter, Dawson Bell, that “he understood the court’s reservations about mandatory sentencing for juveniles. Other options should be available in those cases in which the accused juvenile was an aider and abettor rather than the killer, he said

What are your thoughts?  Do you think that this is a good move by the Supreme Court?

If you know anyone who was convicted as a juvenile or is currently facing a conviction, it will be important to have a lawyer with a successful history. That is where I can make a difference.

Please have them call me