Welcome back and thanks for joining us here at The Kronzek Firm for this discussion on the inordinate number of juvenile lifers awaiting resentencing here in Michigan. In the previous article, we looked at the 2012 Supreme Court decision to give people sentenced to life when they were juveniles, the opportunity to be resentenced. As we mentioned before, the US Supreme Court decided that sentencing someone to life in prison for something they did as a juvenile falls under the Eighth Amendment’s description of “cruel and unusual punishment”. But seven years later, why are more than half of them here in Michigan still waiting?
Michigan prosecutors claim to be resentencing juvenile lifers slowly
It’s not that nothing has happened – so far as of July 1st, 2019, 86 of Michigan’s 354 juvenile lifers have been released, which is a significant increase since 2017. But we seem to be moving very slowly, when numerous other states are wrapping up the process, we still haven’t even hit the halfway mark. Why is that? Ask the prosecutors in different counties around the state and you’ll get very similar replies: a slower process means each case can be carefully considered, which the pros and cons of release properly weighed in the balance.
There’s a minimum time served required for release from prison
In an interview with The Crime Report, Kent County Prosecutor Christopher Becker said that he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the pace of Michigan’s juvenile lifer resentencing process. His reasons? A large number of Michigan’s juvenile lifers haven’t even served 25-years yet, which is the minimum requirement for resentencing. So for those folks still in prison, a release isn’t even on the table yet, regardless of what new sentences they may receive. And since most of them are in for murder and other similar, violent crimes, no one seems to be in a hurry.
How does resentencing lifers benefit Michigan as a whole?
The issue of community safety has been raised again and again as a reason to delay, or even completely deny, juvenile lifer resentencing. People are scared of releasing violent offenders into the community. But what about the potential benefits? According to the majority of Justices who voted in favor of the ruling, the process would be good for the individual states, as it allows them more autonomy, and also save them more money. Incarcerating people is a huge financial burden for the state, and parolling a number of lifers will save state dollars that could be diverted to other, more worthy, expenses. The counterargument is that we don’t want convicted killers or rapists out on our streets.
Being accused of a crime as a minor in Michigan is serious stuff!
Michigan’s Juvenile Waiver Law of 1997 lowered the age that a juvenile can be sentenced as an adult for a violent crime. As a result, children as young as 11 have been tried as adults for murder, and are serving life behind bars, which is a direct violation of the Supreme Court’s ruling. If your child has been accused of a crime you’re going to need an aggressive and experienced trial team on your side. The Kronzek Firm is equipped with top-notch resources and is fiercely dedicated to your future and freedom. Call us at 866 7NoJail today, and ensure that your child’s rights are properly protected. We’ve been fighting for our clients for decades. We can be reached 365 days a year at 1 866 766-5245.