Schuette speaks for crime victims at legislature

LANSING, MI--Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is working with legislators as they review the impact of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling addressing the constitutionality of mandatory sentences of life without parole for convicted teenage murderers in the consolidated cases of Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs.

''As we review the impact of the Supreme Court ruling that struck down mandatory life in prison sentences for teenage murderers, I encourage everyone to never lose sight of the victims and families who were permanently damaged by these vicious murders,'' said Schuette. ''Their loved ones are never coming back. As we take steps to comply with the Court's ruling, we will work with prosecutors, judges and legislators to ensure crime victims' constitutional rights are fully respected.''

The Attorney General Crime Victim's Advocate, John Lazet, today testified on Schuette's behalf before the House Corrections Appropriations Subcommittee chaired by Representative Joe Haveman (R-Holland). Lazet emphasized the importance of taking time to contact and educate crime victims affected by the ruling, many of whom likely did not register for the Michigan Crime Victim's Notification Network due to the imposition of life sentences without parole for the offenders.

Schuette notes that the Michigan constitution empowers crime victims to attend all court proceedings and make statements at sentencing hearings (Art. I, sec. 24).

According to the ruling, future sentencings for teenage murderers will require the trial judge to make a decision as to whether the life sentence is subject to parole. It is unclear whether the ruling will apply retroactively to teenage murderers who are already convicted and have exhausted their direct appeals.

Copyright © 2012 State of Michigan

Published: Mon, Aug 13, 2012