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Judge rules that Michigan inmates who killed as kids should get second chance


ANN ARBOR (WKZO) -- A Federal Judge has ruled that in light of a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that juveniles can’t be treated as adults when it comes to life without parole, that all 350 of the Michigan inmates who were sentenced to life as juveniles are now are entitled at a chance at release.

Judge John Corbett O’ Meara issued the ruling this week on a ruling by a Michigan Judge that the Supreme Court Ruling does not apply retroactively.  Judge O'Meara disagrees, saying it would be unfair and unconstitutional to apply it to some cases and not others. 

Gabi Silver is a Detroit attorney whose office represents four juveniles who were sentenced to life in prison. She says it just isn’t fair to sentence them as adults when they are clearly not adults.

Jody Robinson's brother was murdered by a 16-year-old girl and the girl's 20-year-old boyfriend. Robinson is upset with the ruling. She says her brother won’t get a second chance, why should his killer.

The ruling is also subject to appeal.  Exactly how it would be implemented has yet to be worked out. Not all juvenile killers may have the same records while incarcerated, or have spent the same amount of time in Prison.   Some have already served decades. 

In Kalamazoo, Dallas McDade Jr., was sentenced in the fall of 2011 to life without parole for gunning down an innocent man after he was ripped off in a marijuana deal, and given two additional life sentences for attempting to kill two other men.   He already has filed an appeal challenging his life sentence without parole, because of the Supreme Court Ruling.