Supreme Court ruling gives hope of parole to juvenile lifers

BY RICK PLUTA
Capital Bureau Chief, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING — The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down state laws like one in Michigan that automatically sends some juveniles to prison for life with no chance of parole. The court’s decision says that’s excessive and violates the Eighth Amendment. 
Michigan has more than 350 people in state prisons serving life without parole for crimes committed as juveniles. 
Deborah LaBelle is an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. She says the ruling does not “prohibit” life without parole for juveniles. But she says the sentence should be very rare now that courts have to take into account factors like how big a role a child played in a murder, age at the time of the crime, and life circumstances.
“What do you do with a child who is trapped in a home in which they are beaten and abused and then they go out and commit a crime? Do you have to take those things into consideration? Yes, you do. They’re a child,” LaBelle said.
LaBelle says lifers who were sent to prison as children are now entitled to be re-sentenced and granted a parole hearing.
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Detroit to host Midwest regional jobs fair for veterans

BY RICK PLUTA
Capital Bureau Chief, Michigan Public Radio Network
DETROIT — A jobs fair for veterans in Detroit this week is expected to draw thousands of jobseekers and prospective employers from across the Midwest. 
The event is sponsored by the U.S. Veterans Administration.  The need in Michigan and surrounding states was a big reason to hold the event in Detroit. 
Jason Allen is the deputy director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. He says more than one in 10 Michigan veterans are unemployed and looking for work.  Employers from across the Midwest will be interviewing for 22 thousand openings.   
Allen says other sessions will help small business owners who are veterans with advice and help winning government contracts. They’ll also connect veterans with benefits they’re due for their service.
“We’re, unfortunately, not utilizing our G.I. Bill. We’re not utilizing our pensions and compensations, and we’re not using our health care,” said Allen.
Allen says Michigan ranks last out of all the states, Washington D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico in veterans using their government benefits.

Search continues for missing Mount Pleasant boy

Police are now treating the disappearance of a 4-year-old Mount Pleasant Boy as suspicious, and the FBI is now investigating.
 
Carnel Chamberlain was reported missing late Thursday evening. Since then, hundreds of firefighters and volunteers have searched the area around his home just east of Mount Pleasant, to no avail.
 
According to published reports, while the search continues, authorities are now focusing on the boyfriend of the child’s mother. Authorities have described him as being uncooperative.
 
Carnel Chamberlain is described as a 4-year-old Native American Male. He’s three-feet tall, with dark hair and green eyes. He was last seen wearing a dark-colored Angry Birds T-Shirt and dark green or dark blue shorts.
 
Anyone with information is asked to call 989-775-4700.

Commission recommends state oversight of indigent defense

BY RICK PLUTA
Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING — A commission appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to look at how Michigan ensures everyone accused of a crime gets a decent legal defense has made its recommendations. 
The complaints about Michigan -and the state’s system is considered one of the nation’s worst – are that public defenders are inexperienced, over-worked, and underpaid. The Michigan Indigent Defense Advisory Commission says an independent agency should serve as a watchdog over public defense. 
Judge James Fisher chaired the commission. He says the agency would set standards for every county to follow “…so that we can ensure that people have attorneys representing them who are capable, and adequately compensated, qualified, experienced, so forth.”
And the state should step in, he says, when counties don’t live up to the rules.
Now, it’s up to the Legislature and Governor Snyder to enact the recommendations. Hearings could begin this summer. Fixing public defense in Michigan could cost taxpayers $50 million.

Chevy issues recall of 2011-2012 Cruzes

BY JEROME VAUGHN
Michigan Public Radio Network
DETROIT — General Motors is recalling more than 400,000 Chevy Cruze cars.  The cars pose a risk of engine fires.
The recall includes Chevy Cruzes from the 2011 and 2012 model years.  Cars with manual and automatic transmissions are affected.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says spilled or dripping oil could collect in an engine shield.  That oil could come in contact with hot surfaces and cause the shield to catch fire.
GM says there are no accidents or injuries related to the problem.
The automaker says dealers will modify the engine shield at no cost to consumers.  GM says repairs should take about 30 minutes to complete.
Affected owners will be notified by mail…beginning next month.

Search continues for missing 4-year-old

MOUNT PLEASANT — The search continues for a missing four-year-old boy near Mount Pleasant.
Carnell Chamberlain was reported missing around 10pm Thursday evening. He is described as a Native American male, approximately three-feet tall with short dark hair and green eyes. He was wearing a dark colored Angry Birds tee-shirt, dark blue or green shorts with green trim.
Search teams are currently focusing around the boy’s home, and Saginaw Chippewa Tribal police are being aided by area law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and over 100 citizen volunteers. 
Anyone with information is asked to call (989) 775-4700.

International bridge proposal could make November ballot

BY DAN LOYD
Michigan Public Radio Network
DETROIT — A committee that wants voter approval of new international crossings says it has enough signatures to place the issue on Michigan’s November ballot. 
The ballot question would ask voters if they want a constitutional amendment requiring all new international border crossings to be approved by a statewide vote. Ballot committee director Mike Blashfield says Michigan voters want to have a choice on border issues. 
“The signature count continues to grow day by day…and are internal tracking polls show a decisive majority want to have a vote on the future of the border and that these signatures ensure that the people will have a vote in November,” Blashfield said. 
Gov. Rick Snyder says the international bridge agreement already signed with Canadian officials is binding, and will not be affected by any future constitutional amendment. 
Blashfield says despite having more signatures than necessary, the committee will continue to collect signatures until the July 9 deadline.