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With two landmark rulings, the United States Supreme Court has made it clear: Mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles are unconstitutional. This has meant that the more than 360 so-called juvenile lifers in Michigan -- the second-highest total in the nation -- are eligible for re-sentencing, and possibly a second chance. It’s also meant time-consuming case reviews and court hearings, and, for victims’ families, often a painful reopening of the worst moments in their lives.The week of December 12th, 2016, Michigan Radio took a close look at how Michigan is following up on these landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings.Are juvenile lifers in Michigan getting a second chance?It's a difficult discussion that has life and death stakes, murders and victims, issues of justice and fairness, and a lot of legal maneuvering. It's also a conversation about how we, as a society, should treat the most troubled children among us.There are few easy answers. See our entire series below.

Michigan Supreme Court says no parole for man convicted of murder he committed when 18 years old

Michigan Supreme Court
Photo by larrysphatpage, Flickr
The Michigan Supreme Court


The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed with an Appeals Court ruling that  denied a retrial in a first-degree murder conviction of an 18 year-old defendant.

Robin Rick Manning was 18 years and three months old when he was involved in a crime in which the victim was shot and killed. Manning was sentenced to mandatory life in prison without parole.

Manning’s lawyer argued since he was so young, a sentence of life without parole violates the Constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The argument went on to say the U.S. Supreme Court ruled those under the age of 18 should not be sentenced to life without parole because a juvenile’s brain is still developing and the science behind that decision is still evolving. Attorney Amanda K. Rice with the Jones Day law firm argued the prohibition on life without parole should be extended to people a little older.

Justices asked if you don't draw the line at age 18, where do you draw the line?

The Michigan Court of Appeals said no, Manning's case could not be retried, and the Michigan Supreme Court has now agreed.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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