Breaking News: Decision holding mandatory life without parole unconstitutional for 18-year-olds is declared retroactive

People v Poole (Docket No. 352569) decided January 18, 2024
The State Appellate Defender Office celebrates today’s outcome for our client John Antonio Poole. As an 18-year-old child, Mr. Poole was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Now in his 40s, Mr. Poole has a chance at freedom. Today, the Court of Appeals held that all individuals who were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole as 18-year-olds are entitled to resentencing, regardless of when that sentence was imposed. The mandatory sentence of death in prison for an 18-year-old violates the state constitutional prohibition on cruel or unusual punishment.

More than 250 individuals in Michigan will now have the potential to receive new sentences offering an opportunity for parole. The State Appellate Defender Office is looking forward to representing many of those individuals in their resentencing hearings.

Mr. Poole’s attorney Maya Menlo said: “We are gratified by this decision. Mr. Poole and so many others like him who received unconstitutional life without parole sentences, deserve an opportunity to demonstrate that they are capable of rehabilitation.”

Questions can be directed to Maya Menlo, Assistant Defender, at 313-256-9833

Read the court's decision here