Henry Hill, who was 16 years-old when convicted of homicide in 1980, will be freed later this summer. Hill has served over 35 years of a mandatory life sentence in Michigan prisons.
The decision was handed down in early May by Judge Darnell Jackson in Hill’s Saginaw Circuit Court resentencing hearing.
Firm attorneys Michael and Peggy Pitt and Ann Arbor attorney Deborah LaBelle are part of a collective pro bono initiative which provided representation for Hill as he sought resentencing. Hill has spent nearly four decades behind bars for his role in the 1980 shooting murder of Anthony Thomas in Saginaw.
The Juvenile Life Without Parole Initiative is a statewide pro bono effort by the State Appellate Defenders Office, American Civil Liberties Union and private firms and attorneys to represent and win resentencing hearings for Michigan’s 250+ juvenile lifers still serving mandatory sentences.
The mandatory life sentences without parole were ruled to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2012 Miller vs. Alabama decision.
“Henry Hill has done great work rehabilitating himself and has finally earned a second chance in life,” said Pitt. “He is a completely different person than the one who entered prison many years ago.”
Hill’s case is noteworthy because it was determined that he had the mental maturity of a 9-year-old at the time the crime was committed. Despite this, Hill was still sentenced to life without parole as an accomplice to the murder.
Cary McGehee, the firm’s other co-founding partner, is also part of the Juvenile Life Without Parole legal effort. She is representing convicted juvenile offender Barbara Hernandez. Hernandez is seeking resentencing after serving 25 years for her role in a 1980 homicide committed when she was 16 years old.
See media coverage of Henry Hill’s resentencing hearing at:
Fox 66 News/Flint-Saginaw-Bay City (“Judge: Saginaw Man Originally Sentenced to Life Without Parole to be Free This Summer”/2:13)
WNEM/CBS/Saginaw-Flint (“Man Convicted of Murder as Juvenile Re-Sentenced”/2:11)