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Schuette: Teen lifers don’t deserve re-sentencing

Bill Schuette
Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says hundreds of juveniles sentenced to life without parole for murder or complicity in a murder should not get re-sentencing hearings.

Schuette says a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down Michigan’s mandatory life without parole law for juveniles should only apply to future cases. He has asked the state Supreme Court to limit the scope of the federal decision.

Randy Wood is a spokesman for the attorney general. He says Schuette believes re-sentencing hearings would be a mistake.

“Then hundreds of crime victims would be forced to come into court and relive these horrific crimes. The attorney general believes this would be a great tragedy. There’s no reason that crime victims should be re-victimized by these murderers who they thought they’d never have to see again," he said.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy joined Schuette’s request to the state Supreme Court.    

The American Civil Liberties Union says the U.S. Supreme Court clearly called for new sentencing hearings for people who often did not commit the actual murders, but were sometimes unwitting accomplices.

Deborah LaBelle is an attorney with the ACLU. She says if Schuette prevails, the effect would be catastrophic on people sent to prison as juveniles who were not given a fair shake by the system.

“People who were 14, 15, 16, 17, who were a lookout in a crime who were mandatorily given a sentence that they have to die in prison will never have a chance to do exactly what the U.S. Supreme Court says," she said. "You have to consider that children are different than adults.”

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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