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Schuette Announces He Will Appeal Federal Court Ruling Opening Door for Parole for Teenage Murderers

Contact: Joy Yearout 517-373-8060

December 2, 2013

             LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced he will appeal a ruling by a federal court opening the door for parole for approximately 360 teenage murderers currently serving life sentence without the possibility of parole. 

"First-degree murder is a serious crime, and it carries with it serious consequences," said Schuette. "In every case where a juvenile is sentenced to life in prison, a victim was already sentenced to death - forever.  The victim's family then grapples with the aftermath of post-traumatic stress, depression, unyielding grief, and visits to a grave."

 

"This ruling in Hill v Snyder will force families of murder victims to re-live the crime that took their loved ones away.  It calls for unnecessary hearings not required by the U.S. Supreme Court or State Courts.  Furthermore, it ignores the authority of state court sentencing judges to object to parole when public safety requires it."

 

Schuette noted that the order issued by U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O'Meara in Hill v. Snyder on November 26, 2013 raises many concerns meriting an appeal, including the requirement that the Michigan Department of Corrections open the door to parole for nearly 360 teenage murders currently serving life sentences without the possibility of parole.  Such parole hearings are not warranted under existing Supreme Court precedent.  The federal retroactivity standard established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Teague v. Lane in 1989, commonly known as 'the Teague Rule,' states that U.S. Supreme Court rulings are not generally retroactive for matters of judicial process.

 

Schuette further noted that existing state court precedent reflects the federal precedent.  In November 2012, the the Michigan Court of Appeals clarified that Miller v. Alabama does not apply retroactively to teenage murderers who have already been found guilty and have exhausted their direct appeals. 

 

Schuette also expressed concern that O'Meara's ruling sought to undermine the statutory authority of state sentencing judges to block parole for violent criminals, when warranted for public safety.

 

Schuette will file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. 

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