May 8, 2019, at Detroit.
Circuit Court, LC No. 1993-001791-FC, George E. Montgomery,
Nessel, Attorney General, Fadwa A. Hammoud, Solicitor
General, Eric J. Smith, Prosecuting Attorney, Joshua D.
Abbott, Chief Appellate Attorney, and Emil Semaan, Assistant
Prosecuting Attorney, for the people.
Offices of Deborah LaBelle, Ann Arbor (by Anlyn Addis) and
Latham & Watkins LLP (by Dean W. Baxtresser and Lauren K.
Sharkey) for defendant.
Sacks, Lansing, Michael Mittlestat, Tina N. Olson, and Erin
Van Campen for Amicus Curiae the State Appellate Defender
Redford, P.J., and Markey and K. F. Kelly, JJ.
Mich.App. 410] Defendant, a juvenile lifer, appeals by
delayed leave granted the trial courts order granting in
part and denying in part his motion for approval of public
funds to hire "mitigation" experts for his
resentencing hearing. Defendant had requested expert-witness
funding in the amount of $42,650. The trial court awarded him
$2,500, but it did not articulate how it had arrived at that
figure. We vacate the order and remand for further
prosecutor sought to have defendant resentenced to life
imprisonment without parole (LWOP) for his 1993 jury-trial
conviction of first-degree felony murder, MCL 750.316(1)(b),
which he committed as an aider and abettor in 1993 at the age
of 16. See [328 Mich.App. 411] People v. Williams,
unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of Appeals,
issued February 14, 1997 (Docket No. 176570), p. 1, 1997
WL 33354401. Defendant was sentenced as an adult in 1994 to
mandatory LWOP for the first-degree murder conviction.
People v. Hayes, 323 Mich.App. 470, 473-474, 917
N.W.2d 748 (2018), this Court explained the recent evolution
in the law regarding the treatment of juveniles who committed
murder and face or received sentences of LWOP:
In Miller v. Alabama,567 U.S. 460, 132 S.Ct. 2455,
183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012), the United States Supreme Court held
that mandatory punishment of life in prison absent the
possibility of parole for a defendant who was under the age
of 18 at the time of the sentencing offense violates the
Eighth Amendments prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishments. The Miller Court did not indicate
whether its decision was to be retroactively applied to
closed cases involving juvenile offenders. In light of
Miller, the Michigan Legislature enacted MCL 769.25,
which provides a procedural framework for sentencing juvenile
offenders who have committed offenses punishable by life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole; this
provision applied to pending and future cases. Anticipating
the possibility of Millers retroactive application
for closed cases, the Legislature also enacted MCL 769.25a,
which would be triggered if our Supreme Court or the United
States Supreme Court were to hold that Miller
applied retroactively. And subsequently, in Montgomery v.