The Michigan appeals court says it has no authority to intervene in the judgment of then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who agreed to change a prisoner's no-parole sentence but then changed her mind before leaving office in 2010.
The court said Friday it must respect the "clear and exclusive constitutional power" granted to Michigan governors in commutation matters.
Makowski is serving a life sentence for the fatal stabbing of a co-worker in Dearborn in 1988. He admits he arranged a robbery, but he wasn't present when it occurred and didn't know that it would lead to the death of Pietro "Pete" Puma.
Granholm commuted his sentence, making him eligible for parole. But she changed course after Puma's family protested.
Makowski's lawyers argued that the commutation was final when official papers were filed.