Criminal Law

Issues: Motion for removal from the sex offender registry under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA)(MCL 28.721 et seq.); Claim that requiring defendant to register under the SORA constituted "cruel or unusual punishment" when he did not have a conviction of a sex offense; People v. Darden; In re Ayres; Statutory interpretation; People v. Hardy; Const. 1963, art. 1, § 16; U.S. Const. amend. VIII; People v. Benton; People v. Dipiazza; Effect of sentencing under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA)(MCL 762.11 et seq.);MCL 762.14(1), (3) & (4); MCL 28.722(u)(ix); MCL 28.725(11); People v. Temelkoski

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: People v. Hadous

e-Journal Number: 58466

Judge(s): Per Curiam – Borrello, Whitbeck, and K.F. Kelly

 

The court held that the trial court properly denied the defendant's motion for removal from the sex offender registry under the SORA. He pleaded guilty to one count of CSC IV (sexual contact accomplished through force or coercion). His guilty plea arose from an incident involving TS. At the time of the offense, defendant was 19 years old and TS was 15. He was sentenced under the HYTA. He completed probation and was discharged from his HYTA assignment. Defendant contended that requiring him to register under the SORA constituted cruel or unusual punishment when he did not have a conviction of a sex offense. However, although he was assigned and completed youthful trainee status under the HYTA, because his adjudication occurred before 10/1/04, "he is considered to have been 'convicted' of a listed offense for purposes of the SORA and must register as a sex offender." As a Tier-II offender, he is required to comply with the SORA for 25 years. In Temelkoski, the court held that "the SORA, as applied to the HYTA defendant, did not impose punishment for purposes of the constitution." Temelkoski was directly on point and thus, was controlling. "In short, the SORA does not impose punishment as applied to defendant where the SORA is a remedial measure designed to protect the general health and safety of the public." Defendant cited Dipiazza, but the court held that Dipiazza had no bearing on the outcome of this case. Affirmed.

 

Full Text Opinion

Issues: The Michigan Election Law (MEL)(MCL 168.1 et seq.); Denial of the prosecution's motion to bind the defendant over on felony charges of election law forgery under MCL 168.937; Bindover on misdemeanor charges under MCL 168.544c; The prosecutor's "broad charging discretion"; People v. Nichols; Whether MCL 168.937 creates the substantive offense of forgery; MCL 168.935; Statutory construction; People v. Gillis; People v. Redden; Reading statutes in pari materia; People v. Buehler; People v. Bragg; People v. Carter; Absence of a definition of "forgery" in the MEL; The common law definition of forgery; People v. Nasir; Controlling effect of a more recent and specific statute; People v. LaRose; Language contained in MCL 168.544c(18) & MCL 168.937; Applicability of the "rule of lenity"; People v. Denio; Whether charging the defendant with 10 felonies rather than 10 misdemeanors violated his due process rights; U.S. Const. amend. XIV; Const. 1963, art. 1, § 17; People v. Bruce; BMW of N. Am., Inc. v. Gore; United States v. Batchelder; Secretary of State (SOS)

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: People v. Hall

e-Journal Number: 58444

Judge(s): Per Curiam – Borrello, Servitto, and Shapiro

 

While concluding that MCL 168.937 authorized a forgery charge, the court held that MCL 168.544c, as the more recent and specific statute, controlled in this case. Thus, it affirmed the circuit court's order affirming the district court's order, in which the district court denied the prosecution's motion to bind over defendant on 10 counts of felony election law forgery under MCL 168.937, and instead bound him over on 10 misdemeanor counts under MCL 168.544c. The parties stipulated that defendant worked for a campaign to obtain the necessary signature on nominating petitions. The charges arose from his "'writing names and addresses of individual[s] on the nominating petitions and signing their signatures to the petitions.'" He submitted them to the SOS. The court first concluded that "MCL 168.937 is not merely a penalty provision, but rather creates a substantive offense of forgery." MCL 168.937 and MCL 168.544c(11) concern the same subject matter. The prosecution argued that the statutes do not conflict because forgery requires proof of intent to defraud while MCL 168.544c does not. However, the statutes proscribe the same conduct - the "falsifying of documents (or signatures thereon) required to be submitted under the Michigan election law." They also share a common purpose. Thus, "the statutes are 'in pari materia,' such that they must be 'read together as one.'" Further, "because MCL 168.937 makes forgery a felony, while MCL 168.544c makes signing someone else's name on a nominating petition a misdemeanor, the statutes conflict." As the more recent and specific statute, MCL 168.544c controlled, "and the prosecution was bound to proceed on misdemeanor charges under MCL 168.544c." The court added that even if it were to find that the statutes did not conflict, "the lower courts did not err in applying the rule of lenity in this case." The "interaction between MCL 168.937 and MCL 168.544c renders unclear the punishment for falsifying a signature on a nominating petition." Finally, it agreed with the circuit court that charging defendant with 10 felonies as opposed to misdemeanors violated his due process rights - as he was "only on notice that his conduct constituted a misdemeanor, and there was no other warning concerning the severity of the penalty imposed under MCL 168.937, fundamental elements of fairness mandated that" he be charged under MCL 168.544c(1).

 

Full Text Opinion
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