Court: Mich. sentencing changes not retroactive

Associated Press

Detroit – The Michigan Supreme Court says a major change in the state’s sentencing rules won’t be applied retroactively when appeals have been long exhausted.

The unanimous decision was released Monday in the case of a Wayne County man who is serving a minimum 42-year prison sentence for second-degree murder and other crimes. Tim Barnes was sentenced in 2002.

The court in 2015 said sentencing guidelines followed by judges are advisory, not mandatory. But the court says the burden of applying the rules retroactively “would be incalculable” if courts were reopened to people sentenced in the last two decades.

The justices say Barnes exhausted his appeals more than 10 years before the sentencing rules changed.