Two Fraser Attorneys, former Judges, Peter Houk and Paula Manderfield, joined an amicus brief to the Michigan Supreme Court in 2014 on a case arguing that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling should be applied to over 360 Michigan prisoners serving mandatory life without parole sentences which they received when they were teens. Simply put Houk and Manderfield and a host of other former Michigan judges and prosecutors argued that teens, especially younger ones, lack the mental capacity to fully understand the implications of their actions. That is why we do not let them drink, smoke or vote and why the court has previously held that capital punishment was inappropriate for teenage offenders. The Michigan supreme Court rejected that position. However, today the United States Supreme Court, ruled that prisoners who were convicted for crimes committed while juveniles and sentenced to life without parole must be given “the opportunity to show their crime did not reflect irreparable corruption; and, if it did not, their hope for some years of life outside prison walls must be restored.”
Attorney Peter D. Houk has dedicated more than 45 years to working in the law. Before joining Fraser Trebilcock as an Arbitration and Mediation attorney, Peter presided as an Ingham Circuit Court Judge for seventeen years, the last ten of which were spent serving as Chief Judge. On the bench, he was twice recognized by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as one of the state’s “Most Respected Judges”.
Attorney Paula J. Manderfield spent 20 years as a Circuit and District Court Judge, in addition to ten years in private practice, before joining Fraser Trebilcock as a Shareholder in 2013. Paula’s judicial experience give her clients a distinct advantage, particularly those needing mediation, or dealing with civil or criminal litigation.