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Opinion Date: 07/03/2012
e-Journal Date: 07/06/2012
Full Text Opinion

Practice Area(s):   Criminal Law

Issues: Whether the trial court properly sentenced the defendant as a "sexually delinquent person" without first holding a hearing to determine if he was sexually delinquent; MCL 750.10a; MCL 767.61a; People v. Helzer; People v. Breidenbach; Effect of a nolo contendere plea; People v. Patmore; Whether the process followed by the trial court before sentencing constituted "a separate hearing in regards to sexual delinquency"; Whether defendant's convictions of both aggravated indecent exposure and indecent exposure violated the prohibition against "double jeopardy"; People v. Artman; People v. Nutt; People v. McKinley; Whether defendant received multiple punishments for the same offense; People v. Strickland; People v. Ford; Remedy for multiple punishments in violation of the prohibition against double jeopardy; People v. Herron
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Published)
Case Name: People v. Franklin
e-Journal Number: 52098
Judge(s): Per Curiam – Beckering, Fitzgerald, and Stephens

On remand from the Michigan Supreme Court, the court held that (1) the trial court erred by sentencing the defendant as a sexually delinquent person without first holding a hearing to determine if he was sexually delinquent and (2) aggravated indecent exposure and indecent exposure "are the 'same offense' for purposes of double jeopardy." Thus, the court vacated defendant's indecent exposure conviction and the finding that he was a sexual deviant, affirmed his aggravated indecent exposure conviction, and remanded for further proceedings. He entered a plea of nolo contendere to aggravated indecent exposure and indecent exposure. He was sentenced as a habitual offender, fourth offense to 34 months to 15 years in prison for the aggravated indecent exposure and 1 day to life in prison for the indecent exposure under sexual deviant status. The court noted that in Helzer (overruled on other grounds by Breidenbach) the Supreme Court held that under MCL 767.61a, "[e]ven where defendant pleads guilty, the court is ordered to separately investigate the charge of sexual delinquency." Helzer also directed that if a defendant pleads to both the principal and delinquency charges, the trial court's consideration of the latter "should be conducted under a procedure equivalent to that used where a jury decides the sexual delinquency question." Breidenbach overruled Helzer "to the extent that it had held that pursuant to MCL 767.61a, separate juries are required to determine a defendant's guilt of the underlying charge and the charge of being a sexually delinquent person." The issue here was whether the process the trial court followed before sentencing constituted "a separate hearing in regards to sexual delinquency." The court concluded that it did not. The Legislature specifically required that the trial court conduct an examination as to sexual delinquency. The examination could have taken place at the plea hearing or later. The prosecution argued that an examination of criminal history is sufficient to meet the requirement imposed by the Legislature as interpreted in Breidenbach. However, this "would render the sexual delinquency an automatic enhancement for every sexual habitual offender." The Legislature could have provided for automatic enhancement. It did not - it required a separate examination, interpreted by the Supreme Court to be a hearing. "No such hearing occurred in this case." The court instructed the trial court on remand to conduct the required hearing. As to the double jeopardy issue, the court noted that the "offense of indecent exposure does not contain any elements that are distinct from the offense of aggravated indecent exposure." Thus, because the Legislature did not express "a clear intent to permit multiple punishments for the same conduct, this defendant cannot be convicted of both offenses." To the extent that the prosecution argued that defendant's convictions did not violate double jeopardy because the indecent exposure conviction required a showing of sexual deviancy, the court noted that "sexual deviancy is not an actual element of that offense. Rather, a finding of sexual deviancy merely allows for an enhancement of the sentence for the indecent exposure offense. If sexual deviancy were an element of the offense, a separate hearing to determine sexual deviancy would not be required" in light of a guilty or nolo contendere plea.

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