We are extremely grateful to all the organizations and individuals who submitted testimony in support of the “judicial veto” reform bill. This is an important step forward for a long overdue reform.
Details about the bill
HB 5273, sponsored by Rep. Dave Pagel (R-Oronoko Twp.) eliminates the authority of successor sentencing judges to veto grants of parole to lifers.
The bill will still allow the sentencing judge to veto parole as long as he or she is still sitting in the court where the prisoner was convicted. The successor judge would still be notified and able to express an opinion but that opinion would no longer be controlling.
The Michigan Judges Association, which recognizes that the veto authority actually burdens successor judges with a responsibility they are not well-positioned to exercise, supported the bill.
Levine and other supporters testified in support of the bill (see above).
Carol Howes, former MDOC warden, testified that she knew many parolable lifers who were excellent candidates for parole, but whose release was arbitrarily stopped by a successor judge’s veto.
Howes said that “Most successor judges had no direct knowledge of the case and none ever contacted me to inquire about the prisoner’s progress.”
HB 5273 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge).
CAPPS will continue to keep members informed as the bills move forward.