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June 13, 2011 - Image 3

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-06-13

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Monday, June 13, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

13

FORUM
From Page 1
County" and recommended that
the city instead use the land for
mixed-use development.
However, Kunselman said the
land should be transferred to the
private sector, as did newcomer
Marwan Issa, technology direc-
tor at Global Education Excellence
- a company that works toward
developing quality education in
Michigan - who will be contest-
ing Kunselman. Issa said the land
could become "a hub for startup
companies."
Both Issa and Tim Hull, a Uni-
versity alum who will be vying
for Stephen Rapundalo's seat
(D-Ward 2), said they hope to see
expanded partnerships between
the city and the University in the
future. Issa said it is crucial that
the two strengthen their relation-
ship, adding that the city has not
been fully utilizing the resources
of the University.
Hull said this is partially
because the. connection between

the University and the commu-
nity is hindered by students who
feel "alienated" by the city because
often times their main contact
occurs when receiving citations
from police for engaging in acts
like underage drinking.
Inan interview after the forum,
Hull said he hopes University stu-
dents can build a rapport with the
city through civic engagement,
and in doing so encourage them to
stay in Ann Arbor after graduating
in an effort to prevent brain drain
- the exodus of students from the
state following graduation.
"I want the city to more engage
the student body such that we can
get more of them to stay in Ann
Arbor," Hull said. "We have a lot of
educated people coming out of the
University of Michigan and I think
it's important to kind of encourage
them to stay here. I think there's a
lot of opportunity here."
Sean Walser, LSA junior and
External Relations Committee
Chair for the Michigan Student
Assembly, was one of few students
in attendance and said in an inter-
view after the event that he came

to the forum to hear from the can-
didates, adding that he hopes the
city will forge a stronger relation-
ship with the University in the
future.
"Obviously the University is a
huge part of this community, and I
want to make sure that Ann Arbor
residents are aware of the facilities
that we offer," Walser said.
Michael Benson, president of
Rackham Student Government,
said in an interview that the inat-
tention of students to city govern-
ment policies such as housing and
parking rates discourages civic
participation.
"A lot of the graduate students
in particular don't realize city gov-
ernment (creates) many of the poli-
cies and priorities that affect them
in their daily lives," Benson said.
Benson added he hopes to draw
attention to the August primary by
sending e-mails to the graduate
student body reminding them to
vote. He said he is also in the pro-
cess of scheduling a similar forum
this summer hosted by Rackham
Student Government.

GRATZI FOR THE DEAL
N - E C ' - .

ACLU
From Page 1
Labelle, who is the lead coun-
sel on the case and a cooperating
attorney with the ACLU, said she
couldn't speculate about the rul-
ing of the case - which is cur-
rently being reviewed by Judge
John Corbett O'Meara, the fed-
eral district court judge in Ann
Arbor - though she expects the
ruling will be available soon.
She added that the complaint
challenges the juvenile lifer law
by arguing that it is unconstitu-
tional to give juveniles the most
severe form of punishment that
an adult criminal could receive
without considering their youth.
"The U.S. Constitution is vio-
lated by placing youth in prison
for the rest of their lives until
they die, givingthem the harshest
punishment you can give to any-
one, including an adult who is a
serial murderer," Labelle said.
Labelle said the law should
be revised since it does not allow
the court to consider the age and
developmental capabilities of the
juveniles.
"This is not a get out of jail
free," Labelle said. "We all know
that youth are impetuous, that
their brains are not fully devel-
oped, that they have enormous
peer pressure on them..."
By placing juveniles in jail
without parole, she said, the law
fails to acknowledge that the juve-
niles have not finished developing
and deserve another opportunity
to live as a citizen in society.
"What we're saying is ... they
grow up," she said. "You need to
look at them when they grow up
and say have you matured? Have
you been rehabilitated? Do you
deserve a second chance? That's
all the lawsuit is about."
Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, one
of the founders of the National
Organization of Victims of Juve-
nile Lifers, said she was disap-
pointed with how the complaint
was filed, since the families of the
victims of the crimes committed
by the plaintiffs were not notified
that the complaint was filed.
"These families have a stake
in this discussion," Bishop-Jen-
kins said. "They have a right to
know that it's going on, they have
a right to come and be heard ...
The fact that we're not being told
about this campaign to retroac-

tively undo these sentences, this
is very troubling to victim's fami-
lies."
Bishop-Jenkins said she
believes the reports published
by the Michigan chapter of the
ACLU were "disingenuous"
because they only tell the plain-
tiff's stories and contradict court
and police records,'as well as fail
to consult the victims to hear
their side of the story.
"They are publishing these
very sympathetic sounding pro-
paganda pieces about these cases
and they are not actually publish-
ing the full facts," Bishop-Jenkins
said.
She added she believes that
both national policy and pub-
lic opinion support the sentence
of life in prison without parole,
which will make it difficult for
the court to rule in favor of the
complaint.
"We are confident that the
Eastern District Court is going to
find what has already been found
by court after court after court
across this country that have
affirmed the constitutionality of
life without parole for teens who
commit premeditated murder,"
she said. "It's never been over-
turned by a court, ever, and we
are sure and confident that it will
not be overturned this time."
Labelle, however, said the
general sentiment of people
within the state of Michigan ig
different regarding policy over
the issue. According to Labelle,
Wayne State University did
extensive polling a few years ago
and found that 95 percent of those
surveyed in Michigan opposed
life in prison without parole.
Labelle said there are many
family members of victims that
strongly support a change in the
law that sentences juveniles to
life in prison without a chance for
parole.
"There are many judges and
victims' family members that
have come forward and said
either we had no idea that these
kids would die in prison or we
don't believe this honors the
memory of our family member
who died," Labelle said. "It's a
double tragedy. Two wrongs don't
make a right."
Attorney General Bill
Schuette (R-Mich.) - whose
office serves as council to the
state - declined to comment on
the pending case.

tRIN KIRKLAND/Daily
Ann Arbor residents Marlene Bowe and Michael Thomas particapte in restaurant week at Gratzi on Main Street on Sunday,
June 12. Running through Friday, paricipating restaurants have a fixed price three course dinner for $25 and a $12 lunch special.

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