- Juvenile Life Legislation Signed; Cases Begin in Michigan Supreme Court
- MCC Continues to Support Human Trafficking Legislation
- Michigan Marriage Trial Update
Juvenile Life Legislation Signed; Cases Begin in Michigan Supreme Court
Governor Rick Snyder signed two bills into law this week that will bring Michigan sentencing guidelines into accord with a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case, Miller v. Alabama. The Supreme Court found the sentencing of minors to a term of life without the opportunity for parole unconstitutional as cruel and unusual punishment. The bills signed by Governor Snyder, now Public Acts 22 and 23 of 2014, eliminate in Michigan the mandatory sentencing of juvenile offenders in future cases to life without parole.
In addition to the new laws, three cases before the Michigan Supreme Court regarding juvenile life without parole sentencing began this week. The cases address the issue of retroactivity. On Thursday, March 6, the Michigan Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments [Link no longer available —Ed.] in the cases. MCC will provide further updates as they become available.
MCC Continues to Support Human Trafficking Legislation
Several measures addressing the problem of human trafficking have been discussed by the Michigan Legislature this year, and this week the Senate Committee on Families, Seniors, and Human Services took testimony concerning three additional bills. The legislation, Senate Bills 205, 206, and 594, sponsored by Senator Judy Emmons (R-Sheridan) and Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton), would:
- Implement increased sentences or fines on those sixteen or older who solicit an individual between the ages of sixteen and seventeen to commit prostitution (Senate Bills 205 and 206).
- Allow a city, village, or township to adopt a local ordinance requiring any individuals employed at an adult entertainment business to obtain a work permit (SB 594).
MCC supports the bills, which await a vote from the committee before they can continue through the legislative process. Pope Francis himself spoke out again on the issue of human trafficking, this week endorsing a Lenten campaign by the bishops of Brazil to rally opposition to human trafficking.
Michigan Marriage Trial Update
A federal district court in Detroit this week heard final testimony and closing arguments in DeBoer v. Snyder, the court case that will address the constitutionality of the state constitutional amendment that defines marriage between one man and one woman. Lawyers in the office of Attorney General Bill Schuette are defending the law from efforts to redefine the institution of marriage and overturn the state’s second parent adoption law. The judge’s opinion could come as early as next week. Stay tuned for future updates on the trial’s decision.
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