Prosecutor Karen McDonald Reviews Cases for Juvenile Lifers
(Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, Feb. 16, 2021)
Pontiac, MI – Today, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced her office’s decisions in 22 “juvenile lifer” cases after completing a review under the terms of the Hill v. Whitmer (2020) class action settlement. The Hill plaintiffs were each convicted of homicide as juveniles and sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole, a sentence declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama (2012) and Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016). The Hill settlement called for prosecutors to reconsider each of those sentences and commit to a timeline for resentencing eligible individuals.
Of the 27 Oakland County-based juvenile lifer cases eligible for review under the Hill settlement, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald withdrew motions filed by former Prosecutor Jessica Cooper for the reimposition of life without parole in 20 cases. Once a court has resentenced the 20 individuals to appropriate time-bound sentences, the individuals may be eligible for a parole hearing. Individuals who have already served decades in prison could become eligible for parole within several months. The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office is seeking additional information in five additional Hill cases.
McDonald stated, “As Prosecutor, my primary obligation is to keep Oakland County communities safe and to follow the law. In rendering these decisions, I am obeying the Constitution, and pursuing sentences that will keep our communities safe until these individuals are no longer a threat.”