Juvenile lifers win another key ruling over behavior credits

DETROIT (AP) — A federal appeals court appears to be on the side of Michigan prisoners seeking credit for good behavior.

A judge recently struck down a law that retroactively cut off good behavior or discipline credits for prisoners who were convicted of committing murder when they were teens. An appeals court on Wednesday declined the state’s request to freeze that decision.

The court also says the state appears unlikely to win an appeal in the months ahead. The court says federal Judge Mark Goldsmith’s April 9 decision was “thoughtful and well-reasoned.” Briefs are due in May and June.

If Goldsmith’s ruling holds, it would mean earlier parole hearings for many prisoners previously known as juvenile lifers. The decision only affects inmates who were convicted of murders that occurred before 1999.