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Michigan homeowners underwater, David Trott's tough week and still no parole for juvenile lifers

Oct 25, 2014

The Michigan Supreme Court. This week, the court announced it will not revisit its decision to deny parole hearings to more than 350 juvenile lifers.
Credit Michigan Supreme Court

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss a new report saying a quarter of Michigan homeowners are still underwater on their mortgages, Republican congressional candidate David Trott’s rough week and the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision not to reconsider parole hearings for juvenile lifers.


Mortgages

A new report shows a quarter of Michigan homeowners are underwater on their mortgages. That may seem like a lot, but it’s actually a big improvement from recent years.

Being underwater on a mortgage means owing more than the home’s actual value. For homeowners not planning on selling anytime soon, being underwater can have a few benefits such as lower property taxes.

However, Lessenberry said that doesn’t make it desirable.  

“Most people’s main investment in their life is in their home, and of course, most of us want our home to be worth as much as possible,” he said.

David Trott

Republican congressional candidate David Trott got some unwanted attention in Detroit this week.

Members of a group calling themselves “Trott survivors” held a mock trial outside a bank in Birmingham. The group accused Trott, a foreclosure attorney, of various unethical practices.

Despite the accusations, recent polls show Trott well ahead of his opponent, Democrat Bobby McKenzie.

Lessenberry said there’s a “wildcard” at play though, in the form of the district’s current Congressman, Kerry Bentivolio.

“[He’s] kind of bitter about [losing the primary] and he’s running a write-in effort. Any vote he gets is going to be a vote taken away from David Trott,” Lessenberry said. “This may provide some suspense on election night.”

Parole hearings

The Michigan Supreme Court will not revisit its decision to deny parole hearings for more than 350 juvenile lifers in state prisons.

Lessenberry said there’s a chance the case’s next stop will be the US Supreme Court.

“I think it’s likely they will [take the case], but don’t hold your breath, it could take years,” he said.

In 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentencing for youth convicted of murder and other serious crimes is cruel and unusual punishment but did not say whether this ruling was retroactive.

– Rebecca Kruth, Michigan Radio Newsroom