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Oakland County sheriff warns of juvenile lifer resentencing

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Derek Key
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flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
It costs about $35,000 per year to keep someone in prison in Michigan.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard is warning against the possible release of some convicted teenage killers, saying it could spark an “unparalleled deadly crime spree.”

The US Supreme Court has ordered states to re-sentence all people sent to prison for mandatory life without parole as juveniles, saying that amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled in April that it must be applied to all affected prisoners retroactively, and prosecutors are filing their re-sentencing recommendations this month. A judge will decide the new sentences on a case-by-case basis.

In Oakland County, prosecutor Jessica Cooper is recommending maintaining life-without-parole sentences for 44 “juvenile lifers,” which Bouchard supports.

“They are cold. They are malicious. And they are deadly,” Bouchard said.

“These are not individuals that have somehow done a minor crime, or turned their life around. And again, these are not minor juvenile criminals. They are basically highly-polished Hannibal Lecters at this point.”

Oakland County has a total of 49 juvenile lifers who could get new sentences. That’s the second-most in Michigan, after Wayne County, which has 145.

Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy also made her sentencing recommendations last week, suggesting that at least 60 of those felons continue life sentences with no chance of parole.

MLive has compiled this database of all 367 Michigan juvenile lifers now eligible for re-sentencing, searchable by county.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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