Parole Board News By Criminal Defense Attorney Loren Dickstein

House Bill No, 4472 has been introduced by Republican Rep. Al Pscholka. After a person is incarcerated in the Michigan Department of Parole and finishes their minimum terms of years, he or she comes before the parole board for consideration of release from prison. If the person is deemed to be reformed, the parole board may grant parole and release the prisoner to intensive supervision in the general community.

If the parole board grants parole, the “victim” in a case or the prosecutor can appeal the decision of the parole board and ask that a court deny the parole. Pscholka’s bill proposes to deny court appointed appellate counsel to indigent parolees whose parole is being appealed by a “victim” or prosecutor. These are individuals who are deemed reformed by the parole board and granted release from the Michigan Department of Corrections.

The Sixth Amendment (Amendment VI) to the United States Constitution

The Sixth Amendment (Amendment VI) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights which sets forth rights related to criminal prosecutions, including the right to court appointed counsel. The Supreme Court has applied the protections of this amendment to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

People often complain that their politicians have lost sight of what is best for their constituents and only focus on being reelected and their own self-interests. The most common examples are when politicians exploit their office for profit but there are countless examples of such abuses. The Bill introduced by Representative Pscholka is the worst example of this type of self-interest politics. Obviously criminals, prisoners and parolees are not popular and they are easy targets for ruthless politicians who are willing to trade liberty for reelection. Ultimately many of the most unpopular political principles are frequently the ones that separate the United States from many countries where citizens are degraded, repressed and subjugated.

Giving court appointed trial counsel to those accused of committing criminal offenses might be laughable or offensive to citizens of Iran or China. On the other hand, treating those accused of criminal offenses is the highest example of an evolved society and at the basis of the principles used to formulate the basic foundations of our freedoms and liberties.

When you start down the slippery slope of depriving those deemed to have been rehabilitated their due process right to be represented by counsel, even if they are poor, the potential outcome is societal regression. Once society accepts and becomes used to denying appellate counsel to rehabilitated prisoners what naturally follows is the further deprivation of rights. Before long, liberty is so damaged that it is no longer recognizable. Ultimately, a society can be judged by how well it treats it’s most undesirable citizens.

Rep. Pscholka is no patriot. He’s beliefs are either contrary to the ideals that make the United States and Michigan unique and great or he is so interested in furthering his career that he is willing to sell out his community in exchange for his own personal advancement.

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