Juvenile Life Without Parole Still a Contentious Issue in Michigan
- School-to-Prison Pipeline
- Child Welfare Crossover
- Mental Health
- Juvenile Defense
- Juvenile Competency
- In-Home Care Incentive
- PREA, Isolation, Restraint
- Youth in Adult System
- Juvenile Life Without Parole
- Youth Reentry
After months of heated debates, Governor Snyder has officially signed into law SB 219 and HB 4808, changing Michigan sentencing law for all future and pending “juvenile lifer” cases. These new laws
- Still allow life without parole for those under 18 as long as specific mitigating and aggravating factors are considered during the hearing;
- Establish a term of 25-40 years before parole if a prosecutor does not seek a life sentence without the possibility of parole; and
- Do not apply retroactively to those persons currently imprisoned for JLWOP.
Coincidentally (or maybe not), Michigan’s high court heard oral arguments on three juvenile life without parole cases two days after the Governor signed the bills into law. The cases concerning Raymond Carp and Cortez Davis were argued on separate grounds, respectively questioning whether the Miller v. Alabama decision applies retroactively or categorically bans sentencing life without parole for first-degree murder. Finally, the Court heard arguments on behalf of Dakotah Eliason, who contended that the use of a life sentence without the possibility of parole violates Michigan’s Constitution as a cruel or unusual punishment.