Monday, January 15, 2007
"Where Am I?" "On The Disney Channel -- At Least There, I Know You Won't Catch Anything"
The problem here, of course, is not the newer ruling, but the older law. Adultery is a bad thing -- but it's not the business of the state or the legal system to get involved in it. And certainly not to theoretically throw people in prison for life for it.
In a ruling sure to make philandering spouses squirm, Michigan's second-highest court says that anyone involved in an extramarital fling can be prosecuted for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison.
"We cannot help but question whether the Legislature actually intended the result we reach here today," Judge William Murphy wrote in November for a unanimous Court of Appeals panel, "but we are curtailed by the language of the statute from reaching any other conclusion."
"Technically," he added, "any time a person engages in sexual penetration in an adulterous relationship, he or she is guilty of CSC I," the most serious sexual assault charge in Michigan's criminal code.
The judges said they recognized their ruling could have sweeping consequences, "considering the voluminous number of felonious acts that can be found in the penal code." Among the many crimes Michigan still recognizes as felonies, they noted pointedly, is adultery -- although the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan notes that no one has been convicted of that offense since 1971.
Read the whole article -- there's way more to this than I could do justice to, but the short form is: Everyone knows it's silly, but it's enough of a tweak of the Legislature by the Court that it might affect things for awhile. Ideally, it will at least get that stupid adultery law off the books.