Change the Punishment for Aiding and Abetting Felony Murder in Michigan
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In the State of Michigan a person who commits the crime of an underlying felony like Arm Robbery in which a murder occurs, and is convicted of First Degree Felony Murder on an Aiding and Abetting theory of prosecution will receive the punishment of Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Furthermore it is the parole statute M.C.L 791. 234 (6) that denies anyone convicted of First Degree Murder, & First Degree Felony Murder M.C.L 750.316 (a)(b) parole eligibility.
However, Aiders and Abettors of First Degree Felony Murder who were non-shooters, and possessed no intent to kill anyone, but who only had an intent to participate in the underlying felony such as Arm Robbery should not be mandatorly sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison denying them parole eligibility.
Individual culpability should be considered to persons convicted of First Degree Felony Murder on an Aiding and Abetting theory of prosecution. It is unfair and unjust to punish an Aider and Abettor to the same punishment for the unintended, unforeseen, and not agreed to acts of their codefendants who actually pulled the trigger. Sentencing judges in MI as in other States, should be allowed to have discretion when sentencing Aiders and Abettors. This sentiment was stated by Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Shapiro in his dissenting opinion in the case People v. Bennett 802 N.W. 2d 627 (Mich. App. 2010). Judge Shapiro stated that:
"I believe that the Legislature should
consider amending MCL 767.39 and
MCL 750.316 to modify the statutory
punishment for aiding and abetting
first degree murder...."
There are many men and women non-shooters ( non-killers ), who were get away drivers, or who maybe set up a robbery, or actually participated in one, but who never possessed an intent to harm anyone nor had an intent to commit murder. Although these people were wrong for their participation in the robbery and should be punished, however, it is fundamentally unfair and unjust to sentence someone to Life Imprisonment Without the Possibility of Parole for the unforseen, unagreed to acts of their codefendants. Alot of these men and women in the State of Michigan have been incarcerated for 20, 30, and 40 plus years many of which have turned their lives around in a positive manner and have become leaders and role models within the prison community.
If positive changes are shown in these individuals then the parole board should be given jurisdiction to grant a parole after 15, or 20 years as it's done in many other States for crimes of Aiding and Abetting Felony Murder. However, Michigan prisoners serve on average far longer terms than those in other states, and its these longer prison terms that drive up the prison population. Inflated prison populations increases spendind on Corrections which averages 2 billion a year, which is 20 percent of the state's general fund. A report from the U.S. Department of Education stated that: Over the last three decades Michigan increased spending on Corrections more than five times as fast as it did on public education. We have all wittness the devestating effects of school closures. The extra money that's spent on corrections could be used in a better way that would benefit the citizens of Michigan, especially in childhood public education.
We believe the time is right for Criminal Justice Reform in Michigan as it relates to "Lifers". Studies show that Lifers have the lowest recidivism rate of any offenders once released. The creation and passing of an Aiding and Abetting Felony Murder Bill to reduce the punishment and allow parole eligibility would bring fairness to individual culpability, and help reduce the prison population in a smart and sensible way.
So come join the fight to help end Mass Incarceration, and create sensible and just Criminal Justice Reform in Michigan. Please sign this petition and encouraged others to do so as well. Furthermore, write your Senators, and House Representatives in the Judiciary and Michigan Comptiveness, and Appropriatins Commetties at www.GOPhouse.com or www.housedems.com or www.senate.mi.gov. Tell them to sponsor and support new legislation for an Aiding and Abetting Felony Murder bill.
Thank You and God Bless.
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