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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Thursday, February 20, 2014

High School Students Get Voice In Juvenile Lifer Case

Juvenile Lifer Raymond Carp
By:  Timothy P. Flynn

Oral argument is scheduled in the Michigan Supreme Court for March 6th in the juvenile lifer case of People v Raymond Carp to determine whether the SCOTUS decisions banning state juvenile lifer laws should get retroactive application.  One of the interesting amicus briefs filed in the case comes from several hundred Ann Arbor high school students.

In May 2006, Raymond Carp was only 15 years old when his half brother attacked and killed their mother's friend with a knife in her home.  Carp was present, but the evidence that he participated in the murder was sketchy at best.

In the weeks immediately following the murder, the accused attempted suicide and reported to having a recurring inescapable nightmare: seeing his brother murder their mother's friend over and over again.  Carp's jury conviction was affirmed by the Michigan Court of Appeals; the Michigan Supreme Court agreed to consider the case last year in order to assess whether the SCOTUS ban on juvenile lifer laws should receive retroactive application here in Michigan.

With the oral arguments in this much-anticipated case only a few weeks away, the High Court's decision to allow the collective student body of a Michigan high school to file an amicus brief has garnered some additional media attention for Mr. Carp's plight.  The amicus brief, from Ann Arbor's Father Gabriel Richard High School, was filed last Friday and signed by 450 high school students.

We here at the Law Blogger have read this brief and note that it raises some very compelling arguments for the retroactive ban of Michigan's juvenile lifer law.  Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Gabriel Richard brief is the true and honest perspective of the teenager; the brief is written in unabashed teen fashion and does not masquerade as the product of a legal scholar progeny from the AP history class.

This blog applauds the Supreme Court's decision to allow this collective voice to be a part, however small, of this case.  We will monitor the oral argument and report back on the High Court's decision.

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