Schuette Crime Bill Passes House Judiciary, Violent Offender Bill Heads To House Floor
August 15, 2012
Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced
that his central crime legislation, known as VO-4, passed from the Michigan
House Judiciary Committee today. The VO-4 plan allows prosecutors to require a
minimum 25-year sentence for certain repeat criminals who have committed four
felonies while progressing to more violent crimes.
Schuette's team led
by Director of Public Affairs Rusty Hills testified at today's hearing and was
joined by Detroit Police Officer Arthur Matthews, Saginaw County Prosecutor Mike
Thomas, Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz, and Mrs. Linda Nehasil, widow of
Livonia Police Officer Larry Nehasil.
reported a house version of the bill by a vote of 11-1, with three members
abstaining. The legislation now heads to the House floor for consideration.
"Today the House Judiciary Committee advanced
legislation crafted to target the worst of the worst: repeat violent offenders,"
said Schuette. "This legislation will break the cycle of violent crime by
removing the most dangerous offenders from our streets.
"Public safety is the first priority of government,
and VO-4 moves the needle in a positive direction, toward safer communities."
Senate Bill 1109,
introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge),
would implement the VO-4 (Violent Offense-Fourth Felony) sentencing reform by
strengthening Michigan's Habitualization Law (MCL 769.12). The legislation
targets the worst repeat violent offenders by establishing a prison sentence of
at least 25 years for a select group of repeat violent criminals convicted of a
serious violent crime after being convicted of three prior felonies, at least
one of which was a violent assaultive crime.
testimony, Hills gave examples of convicted murderers with long rap sheets who
would have been behind bars and been unable to commit murders had the tougher
VO-4 sentencing provision been in place at the time of their fourth felony
the case of Terry Bowling, 49, who was recently convicted of second degree
murder and other crimes for his role in a home invasion that resulted in Livonia
Police Officer Larry Nehasil being killed in the line of duty last year. Prior
to facing the second degree murder charge, Bowling had six felony convictions
and nine misdemeanors. Under Attorney General Schuette's proposal, Bowling
would have faced a possible minimum of 25 years in prison after his fourth
conviction for Armed Robbery in 1999, which occurred more than ten years before
the death of Officer Nehasil.
repeatedly pointed out that the cost of crime; physical, mental and monetary; to
victims, families and our communities is immense. A study published online by
the National Institutes of Health estimates that just one murder creates
approximately $8.9 million in victim costs. Using their methodology,
conservative estimates suggest that Michigan faced approximately $710 million in
victim costs for its 556 reported murders in 2010 alone.
VO-4 is endorsed by:
Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police,
Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan (PAAM), Michigan Sheriffs
Association, Police Officers Association of Michigan, and Michigan Fraternal
Order of Police, among others.
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