Snyder signs bills updating sentencing guidelines for juvenile defendants

 LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder Tuesday signed legislation amending the sentencing procedures for juvenile defendants, bringing Michigan in line with national standards.

Senate Bill 319, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, establishes a revised sentencing process for pending and future cases involving juvenile defendants. A juvenile convicted of first degree murder, felony murder or a repeat offender in certain sexual assault cases, can no longer automatically be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
“These changes will ensure Michiganders of all ages receive a fair trial while aligning our state justice system with federal law,” Snyder said.
The legislation is consistent with the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama allowing a prosecuting attorney to request a life sentence without parole while subsequently creating a default sentence of a minimum of 25 to 40 years and a maximum of 60. The prosecutor must file the request within 21 days of conviction. After reviewing the request, if the court does not issue a sentence of life without parole the juvenile will be subject to the default sentence.
House Bill 4808, sponsored by state Rep. Margaret O’Brien, amends the Penal Code to allow for the exceptions to the automatic sentence of life without parole rule in cases concerning juvenile defendants. The bills are now Public Acts 22 and 23 of 2014, respectively.
The governor also signed four other bills.
HB 5005, sponsored by state Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, allows businesses and local governments to create waste diversion centers for collecting and disposing of expired or unused pharmaceuticals and other household hazardous wastes.
SB 263, sponsored by state Sen. Bruce Caswell, simplifies the process for selling or leasing state-owned rail property. 
SB 463, also sponsored by Caswell, allows historic military vehicles to operate on Michigan roads without displaying a license plate. The vehicle must be properly registered and the plate must be in the vehicle available for review by a law enforcement official. It is now PA 26.
SB 553, sponsored by state Sen. Roger Kahn, allows a previously established Renaissance Zone that has already received a seven-year extension of its duration to receive an additional eight-year extension. The combined zone extensions cannot exceed a total of 15 years and apply only to a county with a population between 190,000 and 240,000. It is now PA 27.

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