In 2012, our United States Supreme Court ruled that sentencing a minor to life in prison without possible parole was unconstitutional. It was a revolutionary position to take. Then, four years later in 2016, they revisited the issue and ruled that all ‘juvenile lifers’ be resentenced. Any minors in the U.S. serving life sentences should be given a second chance to be resentenced. The thought was that some of them would receive shorter sentences, and have a chance to live at least some part of their adult lives in the free world.
Although less than half of Michigan’s juvenile lifers have been sentenced since SCOTUS handed down that ruling, the process is underway. For many, their second sentencing brings no chance, and they are returned to their cells where they will live out the rest of their natural lives, freshly resentenced to a lifetime behind bars. But for a small few, the chance at freedom becomes a real possibility. And Calvin Wilson is one of those few.
What put Wilson behind bars in Michigan in the first place?
Wilson was first sentenced to a lifetime behind bars at 17 years of age. He was found guilty of shooting Samaan “Simon” Samara in the face during a 1997 robbery of a Lansing, Michigan party store. He held the 62-year-old Samarra at gunpoint, demanding money. After shooting him, he made the store clerk empty out the cash register and give him all the money. He has been behind bars for twenty years now, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
When Ingham County (Lansing) Prosecutor Carol Siemon met with victims of Wilson’s crime, and considered his potential for rehabilitation, she decided that she wouldn’t request a life sentence in this case. Instead, she met with the defense and they came to an agreement,which Wilson’s attorney said was completely fair.
His new sentence is a much more manageable period in prison.
Ingham County Circuit Judge James Jamo honored the sentencing agreement when he sentenced Wilson recently. Wilson was sentenced to 25 to 60 years for First Degree Murder, 25 to 60 years for Armed Robbery, and mandatory, consecutive 2 years for Felony Firearm. However, the murder and armed robbery sentences will be served concurrently. All in all, Wilson might be paroled in 7 years, which for him, is world’s better than the bleak eternity he has faced for decades.
Wilson’s attorney has explained that at the time of the shooting, Wilson’s life was chaotic and unhappy. His mother and father, a 15-year-old and 17-year-old respectively, weren’t able to provide him with a safe or stable environment. His family had had numerous contacts with CPS for lack of supervision, and extremely dirty living conditions. In addition, there were recorded incidents of abuse and violence in his home.
Many juvenile lifers had a rough start in life.
Wilson’s story is the story of many – young people whose childhoods were stressful and unsafe. Who made poor choices because they had never been taught how to cope in the face of adversity. Hopefully his story will continue to reflect that of many – many people who are offered a second chance at a future, and an opportunity to experience freedom.
However, as we’ve pointed out many time before, the best way to stay out of prison in the first place, once you’ve been accused of a crime, is to get a really good defense attorney. Only by having an experienced criminal defense attorney who can properly defend your rights, and understands exactly what you’re up against and how to fight it, will you have a chance at success. So if you or a loved one have been accused of a crime in Michigan, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) and talk to a tough criminal defense attorney right now. We are here to help.