JUVENILE OFFENDERS (NON-HOMICIDE); LEGISLATIVE REFORM

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While we applaud the enactment of the MCL 769.25 (2014), can the Michigan Legislature wholly ignore an entire group of juvenile offenders who committed non-homicide offenses and received long indeterminate sentences that equals death by incarceration? Yet, at the same time by comparative unfairness, shows compassion or mercy and provide sentencing relief to juveniles who committed first-degree premeditated murder via MCL 769.25( 2014)? We think not!

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine that your minor child received a minimum sentence of 80 to 150 years in prison on a non-homicide offense; obviously a sentence is death by incarceration. Would it shock your conscience to discover that first-degree murder juvenile offenders since the enactment of MCL 769.25 (2014), have been afforded relief of a fixed term of years with the majority of the cases not exceeding 25 to 60 years/30 to 60 years max. Still, those who did not premeditate and kill are left to die in prison. 

Hence, if this were you minor child, would you consider it comparatively fair? If this is not fair, we ask for your support in having MCL 769.25 (2014) specifically amended to include relief for non-homicide juvenile offenders with death by incarceration sentences.

My name Miracle McMillan. My family and I do not have to close our eyes and imagine this scenario. We are living in every day with the imprisonment of my brother, Sherwin Scott McMillan, more affectionately known as Scottie. Regrettably, as a misguided and troubled adolescent, Scottie who is now 45 years old, got himself involved with a group sexual assault, (accomplices were all adults) of a teenage female. He had just turned 17 years old only five days earlier. Simply put, his behavior was deplorable, offensive and deserving of punishment. 

This happened 28 years ago, June 25, 1988. Almost 3 decades ago he was sentenced to death by incarceration, (80 to 150 years) receiving the most time of all who were criminally responsible.

Notably, I was not born until 1989, after Scottie was confined to prison. Growing up, my siblings consistently kept the spirit of him ever present by speaking on how our brother is a very loving and compassionate person. Unfortunately, he had a troubled childhood precipitating many of the poor choices he made as an adolescent and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment that meant he would die in prison.

Even so, as a little girl I could not wait to personally meet my brother with the hope that he would surely not die in prison. When we were finally able to meet, he never knew that I had personally sought to study his person. I wanted to know for myself if he was who my family insisted he was or what various court documents suggested. No mistake about it, I concluded after years of visits, letters and telephone conversations that Scottie was in fact, exactly the person my family deemed him to be. Most importantly, Scottie was always able to look into my eyes and explicitly acknowledge how wrong he was and how terribly he felt for his actions: showing me he was a soul worthy of redemption, include helping guide me as a young person in a high crime neighborhood, to make responsible choices by attending college and attaining my degree in dentistry for a promising career. All his support stemmed from leading by example; often he used his own knowledge that he ascertained through several classes accomplishing several earned certificates.

In the wake of recent decisions by the United States Supreme Court and corresponding legislative enactments, I had the misguided hope and specter that Scottie  too, would be resentenced or afforded a mitigation hearing which would facilitate the possibility of resentencing. Affording my family a chance to be reunited with Scottie after 3 decades in prison, just like the juvenile offenders sentenced for the most serious of crimes, (first-degree premeditated murder).

Given the aforementioned circumstances, my family, Scottie's 2 daughters and his numerous supporters are seeking to work cohesively with a variety of professionals, laymen, personalities, groups, organizations and interested parties in getting MCL 769.25 (2014) amended to retroactively include my brother and the countless other juvenile offenders that were sentenced to unrealistic term of years sentences that equal death by incarceration for non-homicide offenses.

Interesting, there is now a majority consensus across the United States that death by incarceration on juvenile offenders for non-homicide offenses are banned and unconstitutional and have been remedied by one source or another. See State v. Ragland, 836 N.W. 2d 107, 121-122 (Iowa 2013); People v. Caballero, 282 P. 291, 295 (Cal 2012); State v. Castaneda, 842 N.W. 2d 740, 758 ( Neb. 2014); Atwell v. State, No SC14-193, 2016 WL 3010795 ( Fla. 2016); Graham v. Florida (2010).

As stated, in Michigan this particular class of juvenile offenders have fallen through the cracks with no hope in sight. Under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of Article IV, sections 1 and 2 (United States Constitution): "Full Faith and Credit Clause shall be given in each state to the public acts and judicial proceedings of every other state and the Citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of Citizens in the several states."

In summary, we pray for your support in cohesively seeking change and legislation reform by signing this petition.

PLEASE HELP SUPPORT MY BROTHER AND THE MANY OTHER JUVENILE NON-HOMICIDE OFFENDERS 

 

 

 

 



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