Michigan Juvenile Lifers Get No New Sentencing Hearings

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled today that Michigan juveniles previously convicted of offenses that carry a maximum punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole, including first-degree murder, may not receive retroactive relief under a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that such sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional as cruel and unusual punishment.

From the Times Herald:

"DETROIT — The Michigan Supreme Court, in a split decision, said Tuesday a U.S. Supreme Court ruling making mandatory life sentences without parole unconstitutional for juveniles is not retroactive.

Michigan juveniles sentenced to mandatory life without parole prior to the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama do not have to get new sentencing hearings, the court said in a 4-3 opinion.

The ruling is a defeat for more than 300 Michigan inmates serving mandatory life sentences without parole for murders committed when they were teenagers.

It’s a victory for Attorney General Bill Schuette, who argued families who went through the sentencing hearings once should not be subjected to the same trauma a second time."