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Thursday, November 7 • 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Juvenile Life without Parole in Michigan: History, Response, and What’s Next

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Our panel will discuss the history and dynamics of juvenile life without parole in Michigan, where 363 children were sentenced unconstitutionally to die in prison, and where Michigan prosecutors again seek life without parole sentences for the majority of juvenile lifers who receive new sentencing hearings. We will look at Michigan’s response through prisms of legislation, litigation, the State Appellate Defender Office response, individual hearings, and the perspective of a now-released juvenile lifer.


Demetrius Knuckles

Paroled Juvenile Lifer
I am a former misguided street hustler, who was convicted of first-degree murder as a juvenile and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. I served 28 years in prison before I was released in October of 2018. And ever since my release, I have dedicated my life to... Read More →

Kimberly Thomas

Clinical Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School
Professor Kimberly Thomas's research, teaching, and practice concentrate on criminal law and procedure, especially on sentencing law and practice, juvenile justice, parole and post-conviction, and indigent persons accused of crimes. Professor Thomas is the cofounder (with Professor... Read More →
avatar for Alyson Robbins

Alyson Robbins

Manager of Outreach & Development, Michigan Advocacy Program
Alyson Robbins is the manager of outreach and development at Michigan Advocacy Program (MAP). She is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law (JD), Bank Street College of Education (MSEd), and the University of Michigan (BS). Alyson was a staff attorney in MAP’s Family... Read More →
avatar for Jonathan Sacks

Jonathan Sacks

Director, Michigan State Appellate Defender Office
Jonathan Saks, after graduating from law school, worked at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, a model office, as a trial attorney. He represented adults and juveniles on all manner of misdemeanor and felony charges. In 2004, he began working at the State Appellate Defender... Read More →

Tina Olson

Assistant Defender, Michigan State Appellate Defender Office
Tina Olson is an assistant defender and the Juvenile Lifer Unit manager at the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office. Before coming to SADO, she was the chief appellate counsel for the Wyoming Office of the State Public Defender. She served as the chair of the Wyoming Criminal... Read More →

Thursday November 7, 2019 2:30pm - 4:00pm EST
Richard B 5th Floor