Habitual offenders could get mandatory 25-year sentence

May 9, 2012

A proposed law in the Michigan Senate would impose tougher penalties on habitual criminals. 

A three-time felon who commits a fourth serious offense in Michigan would get a mandatory 25-year sentence under the proposal.

The bill has the backing of State Attorney General Bill Schuette, as well as law enforcement groups.

Robert Stevenson is Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. He says police get frustrated when criminals they put behind bars are back on the street again.

"We see the same people coming out again and again, for whatever reason. I think that just reinforces that we need to have a law that makes it mandatory," Stevenson says. "It's shown they can't be rehabilitated. They've had their opportunities. And I think at that point in time, it's time to protect society."

The mandatory sentence for fourth offenses would include assault with intent to murder, second-degree murder, kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct and carjacking.

State Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, says he's concerned the bill is too sweeping, and could include offenders whose first three felonies were non-violent, such as check fraud or nonpayment of child support. Bieda says he expects to work with Attorney General Schuette in the coming weeks to refine the bill to allow a lesser sentence, depending on a judge's discretion and the severity of the crime.