State Supreme Court to determine whether juries sentence teens

PORT HURON (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court says it will settle whether juries — not judges — have the sole power to decide whether someone under 18 gets life in prison without parole.

In an order released Wednesday, the court will take the case of Tia Skinner, who was a 17-year-old honors student in St. Clair County when she plotted to have her father killed in 2010.
Skinner is serving a no-parole sentence.

Lawyers representing teens convicted of murder have argued that Michigan juries needed to make a specific determination that someone had no hope of being rehabilitated and deserved a no-parole sentence.

There have been conflicting opinions on that point at the state appeals court. The court in 2016 created a special panel, which said the sentencing duty rests with trial judges.