Attorney General Bill Schuette addressed the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday regarding his proposal to take repeat violent offenders off the streets with the VO-4 plan to create a minimum 25-year sentence for violent criminals who have committed four felonies.

Schuette was joined at the committee hearing by Detroit Police Officer Arthur Matthews, former Livonia Chief of Police Robert Stevenson, Barry County Prosecutor Tom Evans, Saginaw County Prosecutor Mike Thomas, and representatives from the Police Officers Association of Michigan, Fraternal Order of Police, and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.

In the address, Schuette said "the first step toward breaking the cycle of crime is to remove the most violent repeat offenders from our streets. A disproportionate percentage of crime is committed by a small group of hardened criminals. The VO-4 sentencing reform gives law enforcement an important tool to stop the worst of the worst from repeatedly threatening our communities and undermining public safety."

Senate Bill 1109 would implement the VO-4 (Violent Offense-Fourth Felony) sentencing reform by strengthening Michigan's Habitualization Law. The legislation targets the worst repeat violent offenders by establishing a minimum prison sentence of at least 25 years for criminals convicted of a serious violent crime after already being convicted of any three prior felony convictions. The passage of VO-4 would result in the imprisonment of violent repeat offenders in order to stop damaging and expensive repeat violent crimes that negatively affect Michigan families.

VO-4 has been endorsed by the Prosecuting Attorney's Association of Michigan, the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police.

In addition to the VO-4 sentencing reforms, Schuette has called for the addition of at least 1,000 new cops in communities statewide. Schuette noted that Michigan is already facing the double tragedy of losing more than 3,200 law enforcement officers since 9/11, while also being home to four of America's top ten most violent cities according to the FBI. Schuette has pledged to work closely with Governor Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Richardville, House Speaker Jase Bolger and legislative leaders to determine the most effective way to help local communities statewide with the severe decline of police officers.

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