People v. Poole
John Antonio Poole was sentenced to mandatory life without parole for an offense that occurred when he was 18.
Juvenile Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, Juvenile Sentencing Project at Quinnipiac University School of Law, and attorney Deborah Labelle filed an amicus brief in the Michigan Supreme Court in support of Mr. Poole. Our brief argued that the mandatory imposition of life without parole on an 18-year-old violates the federal and Michigan constitutions for the same reasons that the U.S. Supreme Court barred such sentences for youth under 18 in Miller v. Alabama. We further argued that there is emerging consensus in Michigan and across the country that the line between childhood and adulthood should be set above age 18.
The Michigan Supreme Court held in the companion case People v. Parks that imposing a mandatory sentence of life without parole on an 18 year old is an unconstitutionally cruel punishment under the Michigan Constitution, and that 18 year olds are entitled to the same individualized sentencing procedures as youth under 18. Pursuant to this decision, the Michigan Supreme Court remanded Mr. Poole’s case to the Michigan Court of Appeals to determine what remedies, including resentencing, are available to him.
Marsha Levick, Riya Saha Shah
Tiffany Faith, Marissa Lariviere