Juries have power to sentence teens convicted of murder in Michigan, appeals court rules

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DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan criminal justice system could be headed for an extraordinary shift after the appeals court said juries have the power to sentence teens convicted of murder.

The court recently said juries — not judges — must decide whether someone under 18 gets life in prison without parole. If juries feel that punishment doesn’t fit, judges would then order a term of years.

The St. Clair County prosecutor says an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court is certain.

The case involves Tia Skinner, who is serving a no-parole sentence for plotting to have her father killed in 2010. She was 17.

The appeals court tied its decision to a line of U.S. Supreme Court cases, especially a 2012 opinion that teens must be treated differently than adults.

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