Thursday, May 18, 2017

Some questions we have regarding Troy's case

In my last post I gave an overview of Troy's legal situation.

We are looking for people who are willing to think creatively about Troy's situation and we have a few questions that might make fertile ground for moving forward. These all relate to Troy's status as a person with a long indeterminate sentence, or LID.

  • When Troy was sentenced in 1984, "Proposal B" had been in effect for 6 years. At that time, he was eligible for parole under the old lifer law, which said 10 years or more would be treated as “life,” which at the time was eligible for parole in 10 years. Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelly issued an opinion in 1986 that interpreted Proposal B and took away the parole board access of people with long indeterminate sentences. This went on for awhile, with these two laws in contradiction. Then, the Lifer Law was altered to reflect this opinion. Does the fact that Troy and other LIDs had access to the parole board for eight years give him any standing?
  • Why isn’t there an equal protection claim for people sentenced to more time for second degree than those convicted of first degree? Certain numbers give more parole board access to first degree than to second. Is there a principle in law that lesser degrees of crime should receive lesser degrees of punishment?
  • If first-degree natural life is Michigan’s equivalent of the death penalty, this practice of over-sentencing second-degree cases is comparable to prosecutors and judges in death-penalty states somehow sentencing second-degree cases to death. It’s being treated as a “capital offense,” but this is contrary to the legislative intent of the second-degree statute. Is there any legal standing for this issue?
Please let us know if you have any thoughts on these issues or know someone who can help.

—Maryann Gorman

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