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Tag Archive | "juveniles"

New hope for youth sentenced to life in prison

By Mary Kuhlman, Michigan News Connection

N-New-hope-for-juvenilesThere’s new hope for some Michigan offenders who were sentenced as juveniles to die in prison. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the 2012 Miller vs. Alabama decision barring mandatory life without parole for child offenders applies retroactively.

Michigan is one of the few states that uses life without parole as a punishment for offenders younger than age 18. Kristen Staley, deputy director of the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency, said the high court recognizes that kids lack the impulse control and judgment of adults and have greater capacity for reform.

“The court even goes to say that it’s always unconstitutional for a juvenile to be serving life without a chance of parole unless he or she is found to be so irreparably corrupt or some sort of permanently incorrigible status,” she said. “Frankly, it’s a rare circumstance and we should not be using it.”

About 360 people are serving life sentences in Michigan for crimes committed prior to age 18. Michigan also is one of a few states where 17-year-olds are automatically tried as adults. Staley said she hopes the ruling helps build momentum to raise the age to 18.

Nate Balis, director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group, said the promise of the juvenile-justice system to help youth cannot be realized when they are treated like adults and exposed to harsh sentencing.

“The dual commitment to public safety and rehabilitation means that young people ought to be treated as young people,” he said. “They ought to be treated as youth who are changing and who are capable of changing, which means it should be about their development and not about punishment.”

The court held that those affected by the decision should be released or have their sentences reduced. Staley said re-sentencing by a trial court isn’t necessary.

“The court made it very clear that, frankly, a parole hearing could be an option,” she said. “This won’t necessarily clog all the cases with reopening and rehashing old wounds. Maybe we can just take a look at good behavior and parole options going forward. ”

Monday’s ruling impacts about 2,000 people incarcerated around the country.

The ruling is online at supremecourt.gov.

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Vandalism and arrest update

HandcuffsMore suspects have been identified in the recent graffiti vandalism in Cedar Springs, and the case has also expanded to include recovery of a stolen rifle and a spree of stealing from unlocked vehicles at night.

Besides the arrest of Cody Steven Quay, 19, and two juveniles for the most recent vandalism, another three juveniles were referred to juvenile court for their involvement in tagging and vandalizing a vehicle, some buildings, and City of Cedar Springs street signs.

According to Police Chief Roger Parent, during the investigation on tagging, Cedar Springs officers recovered a stolen assault style weapon from a 15-year-old who lived in Cedar Springs. That firearm had been stolen from a vehicle during the night in northeast Kent County. At least four other individuals have been identified as being involved with a crime spree of stealing from unlocked vehicles. The firearm and investigation was turned over to the Kent County Sheriff Department who had taken the original larceny complaints.


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Sixteen juveniles recovered in child sex trafficking sting at Super Bowl


The FBI, in partnership with more than 50 law enforcement agencies, recovered 16 juveniles during an enforcement action focused on commercial child sex trafficking at the Super Bowl. Additionally, more than 45 pimps and their associates were arrested, some of whom claimed to have traveled to New Jersey from other states specifically for the purpose of prostituting women and children at the Super Bowl.

“High-profile special events, which draw large crowds, have become lucrative opportunities for child prostitution criminal enterprises,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The FBI and our partners remain committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and putting those who try to profit from this type of criminal activity behind bars.”

The minors recovered during the Super Bowl operations range in ages from 13 to 17 years old and include high school students and children who had been reported missing by their families.

Additionally, enforcement actions resulted in the recovery of international human trafficking victims.

Over the course of the operation, the FBI’s victim specialists provided 70 women and children services such as food, clothing, and referrals to health care facilities, shelters, and other programs.

This came after more than six months of localized FBI-led law enforcement preparation. Working with a variety of federal, state, and local partners, the FBI has provided training on how to identify and address child exploitation.

“Through partnerships, enhanced as a result of this operation, we hope to build a lasting framework that helps the community address this problem,” said Michael Harpster, chief of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children Section. “It’s easy to focus on this issue in light of a high-profile event, but the sad reality is, this is a problem we see every day in communities across the country.”

The FBI’s Super Bowl operation efforts are part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.

To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 3,100 children. The investigations and subsequent 1,400 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 11 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.


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