MI Supreme Court: Juvenile lifers won’t be re-sentenced

Michigan Hall of Justice. Courtesy Wikipedia User Jeffness.

Michigan Hall of Justice. Courtesy Wikipedia User Jeffness.

The Michigan Supreme Court says felons sentenced as juveniles to life without parole won’t get new sentences. That’s despite a US Supreme Court ruling that says it’s cruel and unusual punishment.

The question was whether the US Supreme Court decision in Miller versus Alabama applies retroactively in Michigan to more than 300 inmates sentenced as juveniles to life without parole, or if it only applies to future cases. A four-to-three majority on the state Supreme Court says it would present too many financial and logistical barriers to go back and find lost witnesses and evidence for new sentencing hearings.

The Miller decision says mandatory life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional because they don’t take into account each child’s circumstances.

States have split on how to handle the Miller decision. Which suggests the issue could yet be headed back one day to the US Supreme Court.