Oh my! I read today in the Detroit Free Press about the efforts of a 16-year-old young woman, Matilyn Sarosi of Ann Arbor, who--with the help and guidance of others--has just submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Michigan Supreme Court arguing that prison inmates with life sentences for crimes committed as juveniles deserve a chance at parole. Sarosi's mentors support her convictions that emanate from her strong belief in social justice and the power of redemption. Thus they facilitated her submission of a brief opposing an April 2013 Michigan Court of Appeal ruling that a U.S. Supreme Court decision of November 2012 ending mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles should not be applied retroactively.
Retroactive application has been opposed by Michigan's state Attorney General Bill Schuette. Shuette's position is that that the Supreme Court ruling should only apply to future offenders, not to current inmates ("juvenile lifers"). He says that they should not be eligible for new sentences because re-sentencing such inmates would inflict unnecessary pain on the victim families.
Let me say here that I am "wowed" by Sarosi and also by those who helped her along the way. Sarosi's supporters include Jon Muth, attorney in Grand Rapids, who provided her with the legal support and status to get her brief to the Court. Muth calls her efforts "remarkable." Sarosi's supporters also include her parents, a lawyer aunt, the school’s administration and chaplain and the students of Father Gabriel Richard Catholic High School in Ann Arbor. When Sarosi's brief was submitted last Friday, the signatures of 452 students—85% of the student body—were attached. How marvelous is that?