Michigan prosecutors now will know when prisoners are set to be paroled in their counties.
A new law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder earlier this week — sponsored by state Rep. Paul Scott, R-Grand Blanc — requires that prosecutors receive written notice within 10 days of the parole board’s decision to release a prisoner.
The notice must be sent to prosecutors where the crime occurred and where the offender will be released.
Although county sheriffs are notified routinely, prosecutors have complained in recent years that it’s difficult to get information about upcoming parole hearings or prisoner release dates.
Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper sued the Michigan Department of Corrections over the matter last year.
Cooper praised the law as a “baby step in the right direction,” but said additional legislation needs to be passed that would give prosecutors a 48-day notice — time enough to file an appeal with the courts if they object to the parole.
“It would give us a chance to look at the case, pull our files together,” she said. “It doesn’t hurt to have a second pair of eyes on these cases, or even a third or fourth. Mistakes get made.”
The bill, Public Act 165, takes effect immediately.
“I think it is important that prosecutors know who is coming back into the community,” said Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, who lobbied for the bill. “Particularly recidivists, or, as we like to call them in my office, frequent flyers. We like a prior notice so that we can get our radar up.”
Snyder signed the bill Tuesday. The legislation was passed with strong bipartisan support.
“This is an important change that will better protect our communities and give crime victims peace of mind,” Snyder said in a written statement.
If you have been charged with a crime contact Daniel Ambrose at 248-624-5500 or visit our website at www.ambrosecriminallaw.com