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Michigan Indigent Defense Commission Update February 2017

The Michigan Indigent Defense Commission submitted the first set of standards for indigent defense delivery systems to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) on February 6, 2017.  These standards involve education and training, the initial client interview, experts and investigators, and counsel at first appearance and other critical stages in front of a judge. Read More

SADO Accepting Applications for 2017 Summer Internship

Applications accepted now through March 1, 2017

The State Appellate Defender Office (SADO) is seeking first and second-year law students for full-time summer 2017 internships in the Detroit and Lansing offices. SADO provides representation to indigent clients who appeal their state criminal convictions. The 2017 summer interns will work directly with the Juvenile Lifer Unit attorneys. SADO represents nearly two-thirds of Michigan’s 360 juvenile lifers currently serving unconstitutional sentences, and is responsible for developing mitigation and litigation strategies for resentencing hearings conducted pursuant to MCL 769.25a and Miller v Alabama, 567 US __ (2012). SADO seeks qualified interns to work collaboratively within Juvenile Lifer Unit teams. Read More

SADO's Challenges and Triumphs on Juvenile Lifers Featured in Detroit Free Press

SADO made front page headlines in the Detroit Free Press Thursday (2/9/2017) with a story highlighting the growing success our attorneys are having in representing juveniles once sentenced to die behind bars. So far, 50 Michigan prisoners, many of them SADO clients, have been re-sentenced, in keeping with recent United States Supreme Court rulings that it is unconstitutional to send children to prison for life. Five have been released on parole. Read More

SADO's Juvenile Lifer Unit Secures Term of Years Sentences for Clients formerly Sentenced to Life Without Parole

Michigan's Juvenile Lifers--individuals sentenced to mandatory life without parole for offenses they committed as children age 17 years old or under--are entitled to resentencing following Montgomery v Louisiana, __ US __; (Docket No. 14-280, issued 1/25/16), and pursuant to the procedures set forth in MCL 769.25a. In July 2016, prosecutor offices around the state filed motions seeking the re-imposition of life without parole sentences for approximately 229 of Michigan's approximately 363 juvenile lifers. Resentencing hearings will take place over an expanded period of time. In these cases, the prosecution will continue to seek the re-imposition of a life sentence while defense counsel will seek the imposition of a term of years sentence, the minimum of which can be between 25 to 40 years and the maximum of which is 60 years, pursuant to MCL 769.25a. Read More

Re-Entry for the Juvenile Lifer Population

A report published by the The Sentencing Project found that most juvenile lifers grew up in adverse circumstances such as extreme poverty and violent environments where many experienced child abuse. As a result of the Supreme Court decision in Montgomery v Louisiana, ___ US ___; (Docket No. 14-280, issued 1/25/16), and pursuant to the procedures set forth in MCL 769.25a, approximately 365 juvenile lifers are entitled to re-sentencing. Upon release, all formerly incarcerated persons will face almost insurmountable challenges when reintegrating into society. It is expected that juvenile lifers will face even greater challenges since they were imprisoned at such a young age. The goal of SADO's Project Re-Entry (a volunteer based initiative) is to work with clients to help create a re-entry plan that addresses the unique challenges and needs of each person. Read More

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This project was funded by the Byrne JAG grant #2010-DJ-BX-0003, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and administered by the Michigan state Police (MSP). Points of view or opinions contained within this document do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the MSP or DOJ.