Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Support Efrén and Our Efforts to Abolish JLWOP Sentences in Michigan

The following message was posted before we were made aware that the new bills seeking to abolish juvenile life without parole sentences in Michigan were re-introduced in the Michigan Senate. Click here to read our post about the introduction of the new bills.


Dear Friends,

We just learned that a legislator in Iowa has introduced new legislation to abolish juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) in that state. That makes six states that are currently working on this, which includes Michigan.

At a recent JLWOP workshop at the University of Michigan, State Representative Alma Wheeler Smith recommended that we contact other State Representatives who voted to oppose passage of legislation to abolish JLWOP sentences.

Representative Smith stated that we should work to get the other State Representatives who opposed the legislation and encourage them to change their votes. She also suggested that we attempt to learn why they opposed it, so we can do a better job of addressing their concerns when the bills are re-introduced.

Click here to view a condensed Michigan House Journal that shows how State Representatives voted for House Bills 4402-4405 which were aimed at abolishing JLWOP sentences. (This condensed document only includes the pages pertaining to House Bills 4402-4405, as the entire document was over 90 pages. Also, the nay voters that were not re-elected are crossed out in blue.)

While the bills passed the Michigan House they did not get voted on in the Michigan Senate. Representative Smith informed us that the bills are being reintroduced in the coming months so that there will be time for the State Senate to hold hearings and get the legislation passed this year.

In preparation for introduction of these very important bills we are asking you to please contact state legislators in the Michigan House and Senate and encourage them to support an end to the imposition of JLWOP sentences when the bills are introduced.

Please contact state legislators in your own districts from both the Michigan House and the Senate. Representative Smith suggested contacting each one who voted no, regardless of the district. She said they represent all of the people of Michigan, not just those in their districts.

At the end of this message there are links that will help you identify your state legislators and contact info for those that voted no. We ask that if you contact legislator(s) that you please let me know the names of those contacted, even a 'Copy To' or 'Forward' of your email is fine. (Click here to send me an email.) It would be very much appreciated. (Also, if anyone needs assistance constructing a letter to send to them, please feel free to ask.)

Thank you all so much for your continued support and for helping us advance our campaign to free Efrén. It is our prayer that he will soon receive the long overdue justice he deserves. Efrén is in good spirits and he continues to work each day writing people, educating others, and being productive.

As Efrén recently said, "I will never stop fueling the flame of hope with an unyielding desire for victory!"

Warm Regards and Continuing in the Struggle,

Helen

Locate State Senator: http://tinyurl.com/yu5wkv
Locate State Representative: http://tinyurl.com/22bgf9
University of Michigan JLWOP Event Blog Post: http://tinyurl.com/btnvmg

Link to message from Efrén supporting this effort: http://tinyurl.com/al9fmn

This post was updated 2/9/09 at 10:25 PM.

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