Vicki English 0

Petition to Commute sentence of John English

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On May 10, 1983 John English age 18 committed a robbery at a convenience store. At the time he was unemployed and using cocaine. During the robbery he was distracted and the victim attempted to grab the gun which then went off and he was accidentally shot. English was given a “court” appointed attorney. English agreed to plea guilty on the murder charge with the underlying charge of Larceny. This would have given him a 2nd degree murder conviction and a sentence of any number of years up to a life sentence with parole usually a 12-22 year sentence. During the sentencing the judge changed the charge to Premeditated Murder (Murder in the First degree). The prosecutor objected even though the defense attorney did not, since the prosecutor’s office is who determines what a person is charged with. The judge is only there to render a decision on the facts of the case. The judge overruled and sentenced English to a Natural life sentence with no parole. He appealed his case but the judge had died prior to appeal being heard. He appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court but the court showed no interest in the case. They review only a small number of cases and usually only those of notoriety. If this case had occurred in any county in Michigan other than Oakland County the sentence would have been a set number of years and never Natural Life. Currently the law is being changed so that anyone who is under 18 cannot be sentenced to Natural life. If English was 10 months younger he would be included in this. Basically a teenager is a teenager until they turn 21 so there should be no difference in someone who is 17 or 18. A person who is 17 in Michigan is considered an adult in some cases yet an adult in others. A 20 year old can be convicted of possessing alcohol under the charge of Minor in Possession . In reality, this state cannot decide when someone is still a juvenile or when they reach the age of adulthood. Michigan is one of the only states that sentences teens to Natural life and that Natural life has no set amount of years. In most states Natural life means 25 years. English has 26 years in, has done well and even has Corrections staff supporting his release. He is attempting to get his sentence pardoned by the governor. He would be on parole for 4 years and could be sent back to prison for a violation of his parole. He is not the kid he was at 18. He is now 45 years old and should be given the chance if the Governor so chooses. We are only asking the support to present it to the Governor. If you will recall that Stephen Grant who murdered and cut up his wife in Macomb county last year was only found guilty of 2nd degree murder and has a chance for parole. His was a definite case where the 1st degree Premeditated Murder should have been used.


The English Family

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