Work on juvenile lifer bills stalls in Michigan legislature

Sep 7, 2013

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers attempting to respond to a ruling that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional have hit a stalemate that threatens to derail any progress.

They can't agree on whether last year's Supreme Court decision last year applies retroactively to the roughly 360 Michigan inmates who were under 18 when they committed crimes.

A group of Republican and Democratic legislators says prisoners should get new sentences, especially more than 100 who had lesser roles in a killing but still were given life with no possibility of parole. Prosecutors, led by Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette, contend the ruling only applies to new defendants.

The tension-filled issue could heat up in the Capitol this fall. It's unclear at this point if a deal is within reach.