SADO, and Private Attorney Group, to Represent Juveniles Impacted by US Supreme Court Decision

Over 300 Juvenile Offenders are Serving Unconstitutional Sentences in Michigan

On Monday June 25, 2012, the United States Supreme Court issued decisions in Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs, holding that the Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison without the possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders. It is estimated that approximately 360 inmates in Michigan are currently serving sentences that are unconstitutional in light of the Miller decision. The State Appellate Defender Office has identified and plans to represent approximately 125 current and former clients affected by the ruling; a group of pro bono private attorneys, organized by Ann Arbor attorney Deborah LaBelle, will likely represent the remainder.  SADO Director Dawn Van Hoek and Deputy Director Jonathan Sacks testified before a legislative panel at the Capitol on Tuesday July 17th indicating that counsel and resentencings are required in all cases where life without parole was imposed on a juvenile offender, and that attorneys will be trained on handling such hearings.  Read the testimony and follow media coverage of the discussion as reported in MIRS, the Detroit Free Press, the Associated Press, MLive, and NPR.