Juveniles Sentenced To Life Could Get Parole With New Ruling - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Juveniles Sentenced To Life Could Get Parole With New Ruling

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Wednesday, a federal judge ruled Michigan inmates who are serving life sentences without parole for murder they committed as juveniles, should be given a chance for release.

Nick Perreault explains what the ruling means and how it could affect those serving behind bars.

It's a ruling that chief judge R. George economy says could mean a fresh start for roughly 350 inmates currently serving life sentences without parole.

"The Supreme Court decision merely said that when you charge a young person right at the very beginning, you may not take that young person and charge them with life in prison without a chance of parole," said Chief Judge R. George Economy.

That U.S. Supreme Court ruling was made in June of last year and Wednesday, federal judge John O'Meara ruled that decision should apply retroactively to those that were sentenced to life before 2012.

"Those cases have to be re-reviewed by the various prosecutors and corrections departments," Judge Economy said.

Cases that include Keith Maxey.

"It was like a nightmare, I couldn't believe my son be shot up like that and then he end up getting life in prison," said Tonya Rapael, Keith Maxey's Mother.

Prosecutors charged Tonya's son Keith with aiding and abetting for his role in a 2007 drug robbery that resulted in the death of one person in Wayne county, he was 16 at the time.

"It's like to you take the key and you throw it away and put them behind bars and expect them to die, even though they were 16,17,15 year olds,

to young for them not to rehabilitate, they should be rehabilitated," Tonya Raphael said.

Tonya Raphael says the ruling proves good things happen to those that wait.

"I'm just excited about the thought that he would get a second chance," Raphael said.

A second chance at another trial, time with his son Keith Jr. and most importantly, a second chance at life.

"He said mom I want to take my son and raise him and I also want told me he wants to go back to school and go back to college," Raphael said.

Something that now is a real possibility.

Judge Economy says prosecutors can still challenge the case in the federal court of appeals.

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