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High Court Orders Parole In Terrorism Case

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A young man who plotted a massacre at his Macomb County high school in 2004 will be released from prison after the Michigan Supreme Court overturned two lower courts’ rulings and reinstated a decision granting him parole.

In a 6-1 ruling, the court said the state parole board did not abuse its discretion in giving parole to Andrew Osantowski on his first opportunity.

“The decision to grant parole was based on evaluation of objective criteria established by Michigan Department of Corrections policy directives that were required by statute, and was within the range of principled outcomes,” the justices said in a brief order Wednesday.

In 2005, Osantowski was convicted of threatening an act of terrorism and other charges. As a teen, he had sent messages to an Internet chat room saying he might kill fellow students at Chippewa Valley High School near Mount Clemens.

Osantowski was granted parole in 2009 after 4 1/2 years in jail and prison – the minimum sentence – but authorities persuaded a suburban Detroit judge and the state appeals court to block his release, claiming he was still dangerous.

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith was outraged that Osantowski, now 23, could get out at his first parole opportunity. He’s now served more than six years in custody because of the legal challenges.

The only dissenting justice was Robert Young Jr., who wanted to hear a full appeal.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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