Mandatory Life Without Parole Sentence for Juvenile Turned Over by Michigan Court of Appeals

In October of 2011 Dallas A. McDade Jr. was convicted of first-degree murder after allegedly shooting and killing 38-year-old Eric Lamont Jenkins in July of 2010, when McDade was just 17 years old. He was sentenced to mandatory life without parole. On Friday June 28, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that McDade be re-sentenced.

Originally sentenced by Kalamazoo County Circuit Judge Alexander C. Lipsey after being found guilty of first-degree murder, felony use of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and attempted murder, the Court of Appeals found that McDade’s sentence was a form of cruel and unusual punishment according to an opinion issued by the Supreme Court in June of 2012.

On June 25 of 2012, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in Miller v. Alabama that made juvenile lifer sentences invalid, stating that these sentencing schemes are “a form of cruel and unusual punishment that fail to consider the potential for cognitive and character development in young people.” Donald Sappanos, McDade’s attorney, filed an appeal in his client’s case just 11 days prior to the Supreme Court issuing its ruling.

According to a news article at Mlive.com, evidence at his 2011 trial indicated that McDade shot Jenkins and another man when he became angry with a third man who disappeared with his marijuana and money in the 1100 block of Washington Avenue.

Kalamazoo County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Carrie Klein said that the question is not to whether McDade is guilty, but what his sentence will be. She stated that the Court of Appeals affirmed McDade’s conviction in very way. A new hearing had not been scheduled as of Friday.

Michigan criminal appeals lawyers understand that all people make mistakes, however in the case of juveniles sentencing can be particularly troubling. Although McDade was found guilty of first-degree murder, it is tough to put an individual who is so young and who has his entire life ahead of him behind bars for life.


If you have been convicted of a crime and feel that your sentence is unjust, or have been wrongly convicted for a crime you did not commit, consult with an experienced and capable Michigan criminal appeals attorney now.