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One Court of Justice Blog

November 07, 2013

MSC to review constitutionality of Michigan's sentencing scheme permitting juvenile offenders to be sentenced to life without parole

The Michigan Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal in two cases, People v. Eliason and People v. Davis, where defendants under the age of eighteen were sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder. In Miller v Alabama, 567 U.S. ___ ; 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012), the United States Supreme Court held that sentencing schemes mandating life without parole, for juvenile offenders, are unconstitutional because they do not take into account a juvenile’s individual characteristics, which differ from that of adults.

The Michigan Supreme Court will consider whether Michigan's sentencing scheme amounts to cruel or unusual punishment under Const 1963, art 1, § 16 as applied to defendants under the age of eighteen; what remedy is required for defendants whose sentences have been found unconstitutional; and whether Miller applies retroactively under federal and state law to cases where the defendant's period for direct review of his or her sentence has expired.

Oral arguments will be held during the same MSC session for the both cases in addition to the oral arguments for People v. Carp on appeal.


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