People v. Masalmani

Pre-Miller, Ihab Masalmani received a mandatory life without parole sentence for felony murder committed when he was 17. On resentencing, the court reimposed a life without parole sentence after it improperly placed the burden on the Defendant to show that a life without parole sentence was not appropriate and failed to give proper consideration and weight to Ihab's age, characteristics of youth, and potential for rehabilitation.

Juvenile Law Center filed an amicus brief in the Michigan Supreme Court in support of Ihab. We argued that People v. Skinner misinterprets the constitutional mandates of Miller and Montgomery which establish a presumption against imposing life without parole sentences on youth and places the burden on the prosecution to establish that an individual is among the rare irreparably corrupt juvenile offenders for whom rehabilitation is impossible. We further argued that the trial court committed reversible error in its consideration of the Miller factors by treating them as aggravators and by failing to provide Ihab with individualized sentencing in violation of his state and federal rights to be free from cruel and/or unusual punishment.