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June 25, 2009

Local Michigan prosecutor suing state for parole release data

It is not unusual for inmate to sue a state parole board in order to seek early release, but this story from The Detroit News is the first time I have heard of a prosecutor suing the state to find out who is being released.  Here are a few of the details:

The Oakland County Prosecutor's Office is suing the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) for a list of state felons scheduled for potential early release this October.  The 27-page lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Oakland Circuit Court, said the prosecutor's office has been rebuffed several times -- both informally and pursuant to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act -- by the MDOC when it asked for a list of inmates to be interviewed in 2009 by the Parole and Commutation Board for potential early release.

In an MDOC program described as "Rightsizing Prisons," between 3,000 and 5,000 prisoners would be released by October as part of a cost-savings measure.  Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper described the plan as "cost shifting" in a press release.

"While many individuals may be safely released after serving their minimum sentence, some are too dangerous to be released early," said Cooper.  "When an inmate is released who has a high probability of re-offending, MDOC may be saving money out of its budget.  However, the community in which the inmate has been released that bears the true costs.  There are incalculable costs to a victim, the costs of a police investigation, the costs of another prosecution, the costs associated with the use of the court to obtain a new conviction."

Cooper and prosecutors Kym Worthy of Wayne County and Eric Smith of Macomb County have met with MDOC officials about concerns and their respective need to see a list of those who might be released.... Cooper said, "It is unfortunate that this office must resort to formal litigation to obtain this information but my duty is to protect the public."

June 25, 2009 at 08:42 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I am on the executive board of the Oakland County Democratic Party who worked towards electing Mrs. Cooper. I am disappointed to hear that MDOC would not gladly interface with the OCPO -- they are both working on the same side for the same team. Why wouldn't a strong Democratic governor's office twist MDOC arms to cooperate with the Democratic Oakland County Prosecutor.

Posted by: Justice Moor | Jul 22, 2009 2:33:48 PM

to get all the information that Cooper wants all she needs is a name and to go to the MDOC website, so either cooper is extremely stupid or pursuing an unethical agenda of misleading the public

Posted by: tim | Sep 8, 2009 11:04:28 PM

The commentor that said that they are on the executive board of the Oakland County Democratic Party, solely explains why you posted what you did.
This is a political stunt by Mrs. Cooper. She is not entitled to any information other than to be notified when someone is to be paroled to her county or if someone was convicted in her county.
She is not legally entitled, unless of course you get a democrat judge who says different, to knowing anything about anyone else in any other county in the state of michigan.

The MCL that stipulates anything about the prosecutor is 791.234, and states the following:

(11) Except as provided in section 34a, a prisoner's release on parole is discretionary with the parole board. The action of the parole board in granting a parole is appealable by the prosecutor of the county from which the prisoner was committed or the victim of the crime for which the prisoner was convicted. The appeal shall be to the circuit court in the county from which the prisoner was committed, by leave of the court.

and

(16) The parole board shall provide notice to the prosecuting attorney of the county in which the individual was convicted before granting parole to the individual under subsection (13), (14), or (15).

So you see, she will get notified, according to law as described above.

Funny though, the prosecutor can appeal a parole decision, but in Michigan the inmate can no longer do that, thanks to Mr. Engler.

Posted by: Lwalker | Oct 6, 2009 10:19:34 AM

I think it is a shame when the judges has sentence these people that has did time in prison and they have did everything that was asked of them to reenter back into the community. Now here is some people that all suppose to be on the same page with their co-workers and they are really going against each others judgment. So if they tried all these people that paroles because they feel these people is not ready get help for them out here in the real world.They have served their time. What is it saying about the judges that gave them the years to serve. The judge didn't do their job. I think these prosecutors are showing prejudice. Let the people get on with their life. Maybe that is what these prosecutors need is a life.

Posted by: Pat | Feb 20, 2011 6:42:45 PM

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