Convicted Teenage Murderers Will Stay Behind Bars

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that the Michigan Court of Appeals has agreed to keep convicted teenage murderers behind bars and prevent the re-victimization of murder victims’ family and friends by requiring new re-sentencing hearings.

 “The threat of hauling hundreds of crime victims and their families back into court to relive these horrific murders has already opened many old wounds,” said Schuette.  “Fortunately, the Court of Appeals agreed to follow long-standing precedent that says U.S. Supreme Court rulings addressing criminal justice processes are not retroactive.  I pray that the families of those murdered can find some comfort in the knowledge that their days in court are over.”

On October 4, 2012, Schuette’s office filed a motion to intervene in the Michigan Court of Appeals case of The People of The State of Michigan v Raymond Carp.  Carp is a convicted murderer who was attempting to secure parole following the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling addressing the constitutionality of mandatory sentences of life without parole for convicted teenage murderers in the consolidated cases of Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs.  Today, the Court of Appeals denied Carp’s request for a new sentencing hearing, agreeing with Schuette’s argument that the U.S. Supreme Court decision has no effect on Carp’s past conviction.

According to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs, future sentencings for teenage murderers will require the trial judge to make a decision as to whether the life sentence is subject to parole.  Today’s decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals clarifies that the ruling does not apply retroactively to teenage murderers like Carp who have already been found guilty and have exhausted their direct appeals.  The decision follows the federal retroactivity standard established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Teague v. Lane in 1989.  Commonly known as ‘the Teague Rule,’ the precedent states that U.S. Supreme Court rulings are not retroactive for matters of judicial process.