Jones bill brings Michigan into compliance with U.S. Supreme Court ruling

LANSING—Thestate Senate on Wednesday passed legislation that brings Michigan into compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding juveniles who commit murder, said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Rick Jones.

“As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was my duty to bring Michigan law into compliance with the Supreme Court ruling,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Senate Bill 319 requires state courts to follow the Miller v. Alabama factors. These include immaturity, impetuosity and failure to appreciate risks and consequences. This would apply to 14-, 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds tried as adults. Upon a conviction of murder, the judge can set the sentencing hearing at 25 to 60 years.

When signed into law, Jones’ bill will not be retroactive to those already sentenced unless the Michigan Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court makes that ruling in the future.

“I think it’s important to understand that families of the murdered victims are still suffering from these horrible crimes,” Jones said. “Some cases are so heinous that the individual should not ever be back in society.”

Jones cited one case of a juvenile who murdered a man because he wanted to see what it felt like. He then cut off the man’s head and took pictures of it before placing it in his car and driving around with it.

SB 319 now heads to the governor to be signed into law.