Michigan court ends conflict over juvenile life sentences

Court Watch

Judges, not juries, have the sole power to decide whether someone under 18 gets life in prison without parole, the Michigan Supreme Court said Wednesday.

The 4-2 decision settles a conflict at the state appeals court and clears the way for more than 200 new sentencing hearings for so-called juvenile lifers that have been on hold for more than a year.

The Supreme Court said there are no constitutional violations in allowing a judge to order a no-parole sentence for a teen. Chief Justice Stephen Markman, writing for the majority, said a trial judge doesn't need to find any particular fact before choosing the highest punishment.

The case landed at the Supreme Court after the Michigan appeals court in 2015 said a no-parole sentence for a minor would fit only if a jury finds that the crime is the result of "irreparable corruption," something so heinous that parole shouldn't apply. Markman, however, said the interpretation was wrong.

"If the trial court simply finds that there are no mitigating circumstances, it can sentence a juvenile to life without parole," he wrote.

Separately, many Michigan juvenile lifers who are serving no-parole sentences are eligible for a new hearing because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision. But those hearings were suspended while the state Supreme Court grappled with two cases that led to a decision Wednesday.

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Grounds for Divorce in Ohio - Sylkatis Law, LLC

A divorce in Ohio is filed when there is typically “fault” by one of the parties and party not at “fault” seeks to end the marriage. A court in Ohio may grant a divorce for the following reasons:
• Willful absence of the adverse party for one year
• Adultery
• Extreme cruelty
• Fraudulent contract
• Any gross neglect of duty
• Habitual drunkenness
• Imprisonment in a correctional institution at the time of filing the complaint
• Procurement of a divorce outside this state by the other party

Additionally, there are two “no-fault” basis for which a court may grant a divorce:
• When the parties have, without interruption for one year, lived separate and apart without cohabitation
• Incompatibility, unless denied by either party

However, whether or not the the court grants the divorce for “fault” or not, in Ohio the party not at “fault” will not get a bigger slice of the marital property.

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Canton, MI Criminal Law Attorney Rita White is a metro Detroit area attorney with a focus on criminal defense. >> read