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Tag Archive | "prison"

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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Man involved in standoff gets prison time


Adam Lee Dickinson

Adam Lee Dickinson

The Cedar Springs man who choked his girlfriend and was involved in a standoff with police for several hours last summer has been sentenced to serve between two and 10 years in prison.

The event started on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, when police received a frantic 911 call from a woman at 348 S. Sarah Street, in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates, who said that her boyfriend, identified as Adam Lee Dickinson, 24, had choked her and that he was armed with a shotgun. He had forced her out of the home, holding the gun in one hand, and their one-year-old girl in the other.

The Kent County Sheriff Department, assisted by the Michigan State Police, responded to the scene, shortly before 8 p.m., July 22, and secured a perimeter around the residence. They also blocked off intersections leading to the residence. Several hours were spent giving verbal commands through a loudspeaker. Police repeatedly told the man to exit the home, but they got no response. Kent County Sheriff Department Hostage Negotiators were also called to the scene to assist, however, Dickinson refused to communicate with them.

The Kent County Sheriff Department Tactical Team also responded and utilized several methods, including the deployment of cameras, to monitor Dickinson and ensure the child was not injured inside the home.

After a several hour standoff, the Tactical Team entered the residence and took Dickinson into custody. The one year old child was rescued and in good spirits when she was turned over to her mother. The Sheriff Department said two members of the Tactical Team suffered minor injuries while taking Dickinson into custody.

Dickinson was originally charged with unlawful Imprisonment; two counts of Assault by Strangulation; two counts of Resisting and Obstructing a Police Officer Causing Injury; and child abuse-3rd degree. As part of a plea deal, all but three of the charges were dismissed. Dickinson will serve one to four years on each of the resisting and obstructing a police officer counts, and two to 10 years on the assault by strangulation charge.

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Man sentenced in cat killing


Michael Stackhouse

Michael Stackhouse

A Cedar Springs man convicted of killing a cat outside his home was sentenced last week to serve 16 months to nine years in prison.

Michael Patrick Stackhouse, 35, killed the cat in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates last April by stomping on it. It had reportedly jumped over a partial door barrier and entered his mobile home on Susan Street. His wife called 911 and reported it was fighting with their dogs, then told dispatch her husband may have killed it. Officers found that the man had thrown the cat into the street, and killed it in front of children and neighbors. He admitted to stomping on the cat’s head, because it was twitching from seizures. He told reporters that he did it to put it out of its misery.

He rejected a plea deal in May that would have reduced his sentence if he pled guilty to a charge of animal cruelty causing death. Under the plea deal, he would not have been charged as a multiple felony offender and would have faced no more than a year in jail.

 

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