Judicial veto bill (HB 5273)

CAPPS has long worked to address the parole review procedures that have kept parolable lifers incarcerated long past their first parole eligibility date, regardless of their current risk to public safety. HB 5273, introduced by Rep. Pagel and cosponsored by Rep. Howrylak and referred to the House Judiciary Committee, would address the problem of successor judges’ vetoes of grants of parole for parolable lifers.

About a quarter of parolable lifers who the parole board is interested in taking to public hearing are vetoed, primarily by successor judges. These judges have no personal knowledge of the case and get their information primarily from prosecutors or the presentencing report. The Michigan Judges Association has expressed support for the bill.

HB 5273 amends the corrections code as follows:

Parole shall not be granted if the sentencing judge, or the judge’s successor in office, files written objections to the granting of the parole within 30 days of receipt of the notice of hearing. But the sentencing judge’s written objections shall bar parole only if the sentencing judge is still in office in the court before which the prisoner was convicted and sentenced. A sentencing judge’s successor in office may file written objections to the granting of parole, but a successor judge’s objections shall not bar the granting of parole under subsection (7). If written objections are filed by either the sentencing judge or the judge’s successor in office, they shall be made part of the prisoner’sfile.

The text of the bill can be found here: HB 5273