Local prosecutors oppose juvenile lifer bills

May 17, 2023

Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Lauren Kreinbrink

Local prosecutors oppose juvenile lifer bills

The prosecutors stress that the proposed legislation would leave victims without justice and decrease public safety.

Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Lauren R. P. Kreinbrink and Oceana County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph J. Bizon announced they are joining most of the 83 Michigan county prosecuting attorneys in opposition to the juvenile lifer legislation poised to pass in the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate. The new laws would enact an absolute bar for anyone under 19 years of age receiving a life without parole sentence when convicted of first-degree murder, regardless of the number of victims who were killed and no matter how horrific the circumstances of their crime. 

“These proposed bills would make every person convicted of first-degree murder for an act they committed before their 19th birthday, eligible for parole release after just 10 years,” Kreinbrink and Bizon said in a joint statement. “The county prosecuting attorneys and PAAM (The Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan) believe that these laws would be unfair to victims’ families and dangerous to our communities.”

Michigan prosecutors say the state already has a workable framework for ensuring that juveniles receive a fair and just sentence. Elected prosecutors from across the state, both Republican and Democrat, say House Bills 4160-4164 and Senate Bills 119-123 needlessly jeopardize public safety.  

Both Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole and Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast agree with the local prosecutors, stating they are also in opposition to the proposed legislation.

Oceana County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Bizon

“Prosecutors are committed to justice,” Kreinbrink and Bizon state. “We are in favor of juveniles having second chances, but juveniles who have committed first-degree murder should face the possibility of the ultimate consequence — a life without parole sentence.”

House Bills 4160-4164 and Senate Bills 119-123 are pending in the House Criminal Justice Committee and the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, respectively. If you agree, contact your state senator and/or state representative to let them know how you feel. Contact Michigan State Senator Jon C.  Bumstead at 517-373-1635 and Michigan State Representative Curtis VanderWall at 517-373-1747.

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