LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Another Michigan Supreme Court ruling could change how young offenders are sentenced for second-degree murder.
The court ruled Thursday that a life sentence with the possibility of parole for the charge is considered “cruel and unusual punishment.”
In one case, a boy who’s now a man from Wayne County got a life sentence with parole for the shooting of two men more than 20 years ago.
Judges reviewed the case against a legal test from a previous decision and found that the sentence was “cruel and unusual” because it was considered disproportional, harsher than other states’ sentencing and prevented the state’s goal of rehabilitation.
“It demonstrates a recognition by the highest court in the state of Michigan that juveniles are different, their brains are different and as years have passed, we have begun to learn more and more about juvenile brain chemistry and that’s being reflected by these decisions,” said Kristen Holz, an attorney with Levine and Levine Law.
Holz said if the court determines that this can be applied retro-actively, this could lead to new hearings for people who are serving life sentences for second degree murder.