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Sunday September 24, 2017
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Friend of the Court

 

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deserve a chance for parole. The defense attorneys wanted the students there for symbolic support as they sought to overturn a Court of Appeals ruling against their clients.

Though no one from Gabriel Richard spoke, Matilyn describes the visit as "awesome. It's incredible to witness the justice system at work." Others were awed that a teenage girl wrote a compelling legal document. "When I read the brief I was astonished by how good it was," says Grand Rapids attorney Jon Muth, who filed it with the court. The brief was signed by Sarosi and 452 other Gabriel Richard students.

The Detroit Free Press wrote about Sarosi's effort, the Associated Press picked it up, and the story went viral. "It's been an incredible journey," says Matilyn's mom, Kimm Sarosi. Letters, emails, and online comments poured in from current and former prisoners and their families, from people concerned about troubled juveniles, and from ordinary citizens impressed or infuriated with her plea on behalf of juvenile lifers. Matilyn says some writers called her "naive" or "an idiot," complaining that she would give convicted killers a "get-out-of-jail-free card," an accusation she rejects. What she wants is simply that people imprisoned for actions in their teens be allowed consideration for parole.

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