e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 57840
Opinion Date : 08/14/2014
e-Journal Date : 08/18/2014
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : IME v. DBS
Practice Area(s) : Personal Protection Orders, Constitutional Law
Judge(s) : Per Curiam – M.J. Kelly, Sawyer, and Hoekstra
Full Text Opinion

Constitutionality of MCL 600.2950a(2)(a) (allowing a petitioner to obtain a personal protection order - PPO - against a respondent on the basis that the respondent sexually assaulted the petitioner or provided the petitioner with obscene material); Bonner v. City of Brighton; "Facial challenge"; United States v. Salerno; Whether the statute satisfied the "rational basis" test; Psychological injury resulting from sexual assault; People v. Smith; People v. Beckley; Procedural due process; In re Brock; People v. Minch; Kampf v. Kampf


Holding that "MCL 600.2950a(2)(a) passes constitutional scrutiny," the court affirmed the trial court's grant of a PPO to the petitioner, a child who was the victim of a sexual assault committed by the respondent (who is also a minor) 3 years before the petition. While respondent argued "that MCL 600.2950a(2)(a) is unconstitutional because it denies respondents a meaningful opportunity to be heard," he did not address the procedural safeguards that the Legislature put into place, which were "substantially similar" to those provided under MCL 600.2950 for the issuance of domestic relations PPOs. The court held in Kampf that "those safeguards were sufficient to protect a respondent's right to procedural due process." Thus, it held that "MCL 600.2950a provides sufficient procedural safeguards to satisfy due process." While framed as a procedural challenge, respondent's claim bore "the hallmarks of a substantive challenge . . . ." A trial court may restrain or enjoin a variety of conduct when issuing a PPO under MCL 600.2950a(2)(a), but it is "not required to restrain or enjoin the respondent from engaging in any one or more of these types of conduct and most of the conduct listed does not on its face implicate a fundamental right." As to the right to bear arms, the court held in Kampf that "the analogous statutory scheme found under MCL 600.2950 is a reasonable exercise of the state's police power because it allows the trial court to 'make a judgment' regarding whether and to what extent the PPO should include a restriction on the right to bear arms." Since the statute "does not on its face impair a fundamental right, this Court must uphold the statute if there is a 'reasonable relationship between the governmental purpose and the means chosen to advance that purpose.'" While respondent argued that the statute was "irrational because it imposes no burden on the petitioner," the court found that "considered in full context, meeting the qualifications for a PPO under MCL 600.2950a(2)(a) is more onerous than meeting the qualifications for one under MCL 600.2950(4) and MCL 600.2950a(1)." It held that the Legislature's decision to allow sexual assault victims to seek PPOs "against the persons convicted of assaulting them is reasonably related to the legitimate government purpose of protecting the victims of sexual assault from further victimization." Trial courts "have substantial discretion to fashion a PPO that balances the petitioner's need for appropriate protection and the respondent's liberty interests." The respondent may move to rescind or modify the PPO and is entitled to a hearing on that motion. The trial court also has the discretion to set the term of the PPO, and by doing so, can ensure that it "will be subject to periodic review."

Full Text Opinion