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A Better Partnership
June 19, 2013

COA reverses mandatory life sentence imposed on a defendant convicted of murder who was 17 years old at the time of the crime

In People v. McDade, the COA raised a sentencing issue sua sponte to reverse a defendant's mandatory life sentence after the defendant was convicted of a murder that took place when the defendant was 17 years old. Although the defendant's claim of appeal did not raise any sentencing issues, the court used its authority under MCR 7.216(A)(7) to 'enter any judgment . . . as the case may require.' The COA reasoned that the United States Supreme Court recently made clear that a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole for defendants under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes is considered cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Because defendant's case was at the stage of direct appellate review when the United States Supreme Court decided this issue, the court held that the rule applied here. Other issues were raised on appeal regarding defendant's conviction; however, the COA affirmed the defendant's convictions and all of his sentences, except for the mandatory life sentence and remanded the case for resentencing consistent with the court's opinion.

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