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Thursday, 14 February 2013 14:22

Michigan Attorney General casts doubt on impact of no-parole case

(AREA) -- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette believes a judge's recent opinion on no-parole sentences for juveniles covers only five prisoners and is not a sweeping decision affecting other inmates. Schuette's comments are in a letter to 83 county prosecutors. He says he wants to dispel what he calls "rumors" in news reports following a recent decision by federal Judge John Corbett O'Meara. O'Meara said Michigan prisoners should have a "fair and meaningful" shot at parole now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down mandatory no-parole sentences for crimes committed by teens, mostly murder. The judge said Michigan's parole law is unconstitutional. But Schuette interprets O'Meara's decision as affecting only a handful of inmates who filed a lawsuit, not hundreds behind bars. Attorney Deborah LaBelle disagrees. More court action is planned. Schuette's staff last fall filed a 29-page brief in the Michigan appeals court in the case of a St. Clair County man, Raymond Carp. He was 15 when he was involved in the brutal death of a woman in 2006. Schuette has said there should be no retroactive benefits for people already behind bars. More than 350 people are serving no-parole sentences in Michigan for crimes committed when they were under the age of 18.