Adultery could mean life, court finds.
January 16, 2007 2:56 AM   Subscribe

Adultery could mean life, Michigan's second-highest court reported 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. Michigan's Supreme Court majority has held that it is for the Legislature, not the courts, to decide when the absurdity threshold has been breached.
posted by IronWolve (122 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite


 
I think this is a good thing, if it might only highlight one of many hypocrisies of those against gay marriage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:03 AM on January 16, 2007


It's vile, Blazecock, but I don't think it's hypocritical. Marriage is between a man and a woman, and it's for life... or else.

Land of the Free my ass.
posted by Malor at 3:11 AM on January 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Adultery certainly could mean life.
posted by srboisvert at 3:37 AM on January 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Shouldn't the court have ruled it unconstitutional because it is cruel and unusual punishment?

I mean the law, not marriage.
posted by chillmost at 3:42 AM on January 16, 2007


If people would do a somewhat better job of regulating (and restraining) their own dreadful, depressing sex lives, there would be less temptation to regulate these for them. After all, those dreadful, depressing sex lives do far more damage and cause far more misery than, say, Enron ever did.
posted by jfuller at 3:47 AM on January 16, 2007


The ruling is especially awkward for Attorney General Mike Cox, whose office triggered it by successfully appealing a lower court's decision to drop CSC charges against a Charlevoix defendant. In November 2005, Cox confessed to an adulterous relationship.

This is the funny part.

chillmost, the constitution only prohibits cruel and unusual punishments, not cruel and unusual prosecutions.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 3:50 AM on January 16, 2007


Malor, I don't think Blazecock was referring to the hypocrisy of the court here, but rather the fact that the court was challenging the hypocrisy of the masses.
posted by rxrfrx at 3:57 AM on January 16, 2007


how embarrassing for Michigan
posted by caddis at 3:59 AM on January 16, 2007


I see the morality police have been busy again.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 4:04 AM on January 16, 2007


That is funny.

In pursuing a guy who successfully traded pills for sex, Attorney General Cox found out his adultery was worthy of life in prison.
posted by toma at 4:04 AM on January 16, 2007


Michigan's second-highest court reported...

is that what courts do now?
posted by quonsar at 4:13 AM on January 16, 2007


Nobody connects the attorney general with this -- N-O-B-O-D-Y -- and anybody who thinks otherwise is hallucinogenic.
I would like to meet these curiously potent anybodies.
posted by AmberV at 4:14 AM on January 16, 2007


To paraphrase something Ulysses S. Grant is supposed to have said about stupid Army regulations, the best way to make this whole sordid mess go away quickly is to vigorously investigate, prosecute and punish all offenders until everybody sits back, looks around, and gets a clue.* If not, then maybe next we can make farting in public a misdemeanor and start hauling people into court over that.

*(Where I'm coming from is this: Adultery is mostly a symptom of one or more dysfunctional relationships plus an apparent propensity of our species to crossbreed.)

(And by the way, isn't "sordid" a wonderful word? Sordid, sordid, sordid.)
posted by pax digita at 4:28 AM on January 16, 2007


(And 'morbid,' too.)
posted by toma at 4:38 AM on January 16, 2007


Pax digita... do you not understand the meaning of the word "crossbreed"?
posted by HuronBob at 4:48 AM on January 16, 2007


I suspect that humans aren't meant for, and therfore not good at lifetime monogamy. I think that, like many other mammals, they're meant for, and good at, several partners over a lifetime. Laws against adultery have never been successful, or, rather, they've been about as successful as laws against homosexuality. People like to fuck, and really, who can blame them?
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:51 AM on January 16, 2007


Silly straight people, never taking that whole 'marriage' thing seriously (except for those of you here, of course). And what a joke - even the prosecutor admitted to an affair in 2005!
posted by matty at 4:54 AM on January 16, 2007


HuronBob, since I evidently used it pretty carelessly, I guess not. Better word, please? Been looking at source code, so brainy no worky -- all I got is "cross-pollinate" and "miscegenate" and I know I don't mean either of those! :o)
posted by pax digita at 5:02 AM on January 16, 2007


This is a joke, right? Someone, please, I am begging you, tell me this is a joke.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:08 AM on January 16, 2007


Why do we increasingly elect legislators that are such morons? This law is the kind of legislation we can expect from "representatives" who live by the need to pander to non-thinking voters.

Scientific study increasingly proves that most humans are not wired for monogamous relationships. From a survival perspective, men are inclined to mate with as many females as they can get away with and then move on. Females are driven to have offspring by these same promiscuous men, but prefer the gentler, less dominant types to pair-bond with for help raising the children. Genetic tests of paternity from the 1940s onward show 10+% of all children of married couples are not the husband's offspring. Evidently this system works, because there sure are a lot of us.

Life imprisonment for going against such biological imperatives will only serve to increase the prison population of the USA, already the highest in the world (and increase the bottom line of the corporations that run those same prisons).

After all, those dreadful, depressing sex lives do far more damage and cause far more misery than, say, Enron ever did.

Thanks for noticing, jfuller.

And pax digita, wouldn't plain old breed suffice?
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:09 AM on January 16, 2007


Life imprisonment for adultery? Come on, can't we just stone them to death, along with impertinent children and people who work on Sunday?
posted by Saydur at 5:11 AM on January 16, 2007


So, if you smoke weed with your wife, you could get a suspended sentence for the weed (presuming, of course, that you are white) and twenty to life for Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First degree.

No, this will never, ever be abused. "Dude, you talked about tax evasion with your wife. That's conspiracy, that's a felony, and then add CSC-1. You're looking at 40-life. Now cooperate, and we won't tack on the CSC charge."
posted by eriko at 5:20 AM on January 16, 2007


Thankee, Enron Hubbard.
posted by pax digita at 5:22 AM on January 16, 2007


I agree with jfuller. Wow, four words I never thought I'd post on MeFi.

Scientific study increasingly proves that most humans are not wired for monogamous relationships.

Maybe, though I still woudn't mind seeing some links to these studies. I still have my doubts that, as thinking beings with some ability to control our impulses, we are necessarily so governed by our primal biological urges.

Personally, I just wish people in general could be a little less lame, disgusting and tawdry by actually separating from their spouses -- or at the very least, have some honor and integrity to pronounce such intentions -- before fucking someone else. If it's true that people can't be monogamous in their lifetimes, that's fine, but they should at least be monogamous during their marriages, the costs of not being so can be incredibly high.

But, no law i ever going to work to enforce this, nor should it.
posted by psmealey at 5:36 AM on January 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


The smart-ass in me really loves this court's ruling.
I can imagine being a judge these days...constantly being accused of judicial activism any time you try to hand-down a reasonable, if interpreted, ruling.
"Okay," you say, "you fuckers want rulings based on strict, literal readings of the laws you've passed? Here you go. Have a nice day. Don't like it? Then fix it."
posted by Thorzdad at 5:39 AM on January 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


eriko:
So, if you smoke weed with your my wife, you could get a suspended sentence for the weed (presuming, of course, that you are white) and twenty to life for Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First degree.

I fixed that for you.

Hey folks, this is Michigan we're talking about here. Michigan politics has tended to be Detroit/Cities vs. Everywhere Else. Between race politics and labor politics, the Democrats tended to take the city votes, so everyone else was stuck with Republicans. Add a more-than-reasonable share of religious crazies, this is what you end up with.

Personally, I find it very sad. Michigan is where I was born and raised, and is a truly beautiful state. But, like everywhere else, it starts out with half the population being of below-average inteligence. Then the rust belt thing chases away many of those above average (I left in 1981).
posted by Goofyy at 5:43 AM on January 16, 2007


Cox's spokesman, Rusty Hills, bristled at the suggestion that Cox or anyone else in his circumstances could face prosecution.

"To even ask about this borders on the nutty," Hills told me in a phone interview Saturday. "Nobody connects the attorney general with this -- N-O-B-O-D-Y -- and anybody who thinks otherwise is hallucinogenic."


You are all shrooms!
posted by srboisvert at 5:47 AM on January 16, 2007


Y'know, eriko brings up an interesting twist on this:

The ruling grows out of a case in which a Charlevoix man accused of trading Oxycontin pills for the sexual favors of a cocktail waitress was charged under an obscure provision of Michigan's criminal law. The provision decrees that a person is guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct whenever "sexual penetration occurs under circumstances involving the commission of any other felony."

Goofyy, I'm not completely clear on this, but evidently it's CSC-1 even if it's your spouse anyway -- this isn't just about adultery. Here's Michigan Penal Code MCL750.520b. FWIW, here's a link (PDF) of the actual appellate case document. (c) was the relevant provision for the case, but (d)(iiI) could cause some interesting he said/she said plea-bargain situations. (Or so I surmise. IANAL, Thank G*d.)

And Michigander hubbies and wives, you better not "play doctor" or they'll gitcha for (d)(iv)!

I wonder what other states have something like this on the books? I'm living in neighboring Ohio, where I'm told the court can convict you of being a "sex offender" for urinating in an alley behind a bar.

Oh, to hell with it: Anybody having any sex at all other than heterosexual married couples for the sole purpose of procreation -- stone 'em in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Breeders too, if there's any suspicion that they might've, y'know, enjoyed it or something digusting like that.
posted by pax digita at 5:55 AM on January 16, 2007


Goofy, eriko was right. The law says ANY felony (adultery, drugs, B&E, etc.) involved with penetration.

And how about a citizens arrest of Cox on confessed adultery charges?
posted by DesbaratsDays at 5:56 AM on January 16, 2007


Doh! What pax digita said (much more eloquently).
posted by DesbaratsDays at 5:57 AM on January 16, 2007


chillmost, the constitution only prohibits cruel and unusual punishments, not cruel and unusual prosecutions.

Actually, the Constitution has been interpreted to basically bar laws which create situations where any punishment would be cruel and unusual (Robinson v. California, wikipedia)- even a 90 day sentence, much less life. That said, it isn't clear that this would really be cruel or unusual under Robinson, which focused on punishment for 'illness', rather than for a choice like adultery.

(ObDisc: IANAL, yet.)
posted by louie at 6:01 AM on January 16, 2007


American sex scandals are about to get so much more interesting
posted by Kudos at 6:04 AM on January 16, 2007


Personally, I just wish people in general could be a little less lame, disgusting and tawdry by actually separating from their spouses -- or at the very least, have some honor and integrity to pronounce such intentions -- before fucking someone else. If it's true that people can't be monogamous in their lifetimes, that's fine, but they should at least be monogamous during their marriages, the costs of not being so can be incredibly high.

Second that.
posted by Atreides at 6:07 AM on January 16, 2007


American Michigan sex scandals are about to get so much more interesting
Just to be clear.
posted by louie at 6:15 AM on January 16, 2007


This law is the kind of legislation we can expect from "representatives" who live by the need to pander to non-thinking voters.

no ... this is the kind of law we can expect from representatives that are incompetent and work by committee
posted by pyramid termite at 6:21 AM on January 16, 2007


Someone, please, I am begging you, tell me this is a joke.

It's a joke, dirtynumbangelboy. Seriously. Read the article:

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...Some judges and lawyers suggested that the Court of Appeals' reference to prosecuting adulterers was a sly slap at Cox, noting that it was his office that pressed for the expansive definition of criminal sexual conduct the appellate judges so reluctantly embraced in their Nov. 7 ruling.

...Chief Court of Appeals Judge William Whitbeck, who signed the opinion along with Murphy and Judge Michael Smolenski, said that Cox's confessed adultery never came up during their discussions of the case...But he chuckled uncomfortably when I asked if the hypothetical described in Murphy's opinion couldn't be cited as justification for bringing first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges against the attorney general.

"Well, yeah," he said.


Couple that with this:

The Court of Appeals opinion could also be interpreted as a tweak to the state Supreme Court, which has decreed that judges must enforce statutory language adopted by the Legislature literally, whatever the consequences.

And you have what Thorzdad said above - a completely smartass ruling that hoists the judicial literalists by their own petard, thus making a larger point you'd almost certainly agree with. It's spunky.

""Nobody connects the attorney general with this -- N-O-B-O-D-Y"

Don't you just love it when official spokesmen get their hackles up? Is there a better sign that the question cuts to the core?
posted by mediareport at 6:25 AM on January 16, 2007


Wonder if adultery is considered worse if the adulterer is an adultress?
posted by rmmcclay at 6:30 AM on January 16, 2007


Adultery certainly could mean life.

Commit aldutery on the wrong woman, it could mean death.
posted by jonmc at 6:33 AM on January 16, 2007


We need a law that puts people in prison whose names are double entendres. Beginning with Mike Cox.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:35 AM on January 16, 2007


Since moving away from SE Michigan it seems I only get depressing news - plant closings, gay marriage and affirmative action bans, and now a state supreme court that doesn't care to overturn archaic laws. I agree with Goofyy.

(for the record, I voted against Cox in the hilarious, school-yard joke inducing Cox v. Peters race in 2002)
posted by twoporedomain at 6:38 AM on January 16, 2007


Is Mike Cox here? Has anyone seen Mike Cox? C'mon, I'm just looking for Mike Cox.
posted by psmealey at 6:38 AM on January 16, 2007


To use another Shakepearean allusion, methinks he doth protest too much.

On preview:

rmmcclay, yeah, a scarlet 'A' or maybe just tattoo "POOR IMPULSE CONTROL" on foreheads.
posted by pax digita at 6:40 AM on January 16, 2007



I'm curious as to the sodomy laws in Michigan because you could then get all manner of legal complications if the penetration is in the wrong orifice, even with the "right" partner, I'd imagine?
posted by Maias at 6:44 AM on January 16, 2007


C'mon, I'm just looking for Mike Cox.

*passes binoculars*
posted by jonmc at 6:45 AM on January 16, 2007


I've thought about a citizen's initiative that would felonize adultery here in Colorado after we (as a state, mind!) passed Amendment 43. If marriage is to be defended, then let us defend it fully.
posted by boo_radley at 6:47 AM on January 16, 2007


So, if you smoke weed with your my wife, you could get a suspended sentence for the weed (presuming, of course, that you are white) and twenty to life for Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First degree.,

No, with your wife with his wife with anyone. If you have sex while committing a crime in Michigan, you're guilty of criminal sex crime, regardless of whether it was consensual, or whether or not the woman was co-conspirator.

It needs to be a felony, though, so I'm not sure if just smoking weed would count. But have sex in a stolen car? while cooking meth? Tax fraud? Embezzling? They can arrest you and your wife.

I'm not exactly sure where adultery fits in though, since it's not a felony.
posted by delmoi at 6:49 AM on January 16, 2007


Okay adultery is a felony in Michigan. So yeah, this makes adultery a criminal sex crime... At least it might point out the absurdity of these "sex offender" lists, sometimes for people who are not a danger at all.
posted by delmoi at 6:52 AM on January 16, 2007


Clearly, in Michigan these days, it's safer to be gay. The SCOTUS ruled that laws against gay sex are unconstitutional. Come to think of it, wouldn't the same principles in the gay sex case (was it Lawrence vs. Texas?) apply to this as well?

As for my mistake with Eriko's comment: I missed the part about concurrent felony, and was just going for the adultery angle.
posted by Goofyy at 6:52 AM on January 16, 2007


Aside: When I read "Adultery could mean life," I thought you were going to tell us a story about how the only four people left on earth are two couples, and one of the wives is infertile, and so is the other husband, and the only way to restore life on planet earth is to commit adultery so the fertile man and the fertile women can reproduce, but the laws in Michigan prevent this from happening and thus our world is doomed. What a sad story.

But instead it's just some lame-ass story about lame-ass things happening in real life. LAME-ASS, I said. (I didn't mean that. Real life is FUN!)

This law kind of makes sense to me. It is attempting to set right what thousands of can't-keep-it-in-their-pants/panties desperate househusbands & housewives keep throwing away. If some jerkstore from work hooks up with my wife and jeopardizes both our marriages because of it, I'd love to be able to prosecute instead of just getting in a hissy fit and telling him to back off, and threatening my girl with lousy divorce threats. But on the other hand, how do you establish blame? Under this law, I guess it's likely that if my wife screws around, she'll be going to jail too. I'd rather just talk it out.
posted by Milkman Dan at 6:59 AM on January 16, 2007


Question: is a three-way considered adultery if it is consensual?
posted by psmealey at 7:04 AM on January 16, 2007


Thorzdad: "Okay," you say, "you fuckers want rulings based on strict, literal readings of the laws you've passed? Here you go. Have a nice day. Don't like it? Then fix it."

No kidding. How many laws are on the books with the tacit understanding that they will either never be enforced or that they will be used to punish people for doing things that aren't, in and of themselves, illegal. We're all criminals; lawmakers have made sure of that. So keep in line, citizen, or we'll lock you up for swearing or "calling out in a loud manner" (Disorderly Conduct, 90 days). And if you haven't broken that law yet, I bet you will after you've been tased a few times...

I mean, is there any way we can go through the books and purge all the stupid laws? Would it be worth going through a dark period of strict enforcement to get these laws repealed? (Whaddya mean, I gotta discharge a shotgun three times when approaching intersection of Douglas and Broadway?? Wait, that one might be fun...)

Blazecock Pileon: I think this is a good thing, if it might only highlight one of many hypocrisies of those against gay marriage.

Oh yeah, at least they're actually "defending marriage" now, rather than transparently bashing gays. Next, they just need to outlaw divorce utterly, upon penalty of death. Hurray, marriage is "safe" now! (Except that nobody would actually get married anymore... details, details...)

jfuller: If people would do a somewhat better job of regulating (and restraining) their own dreadful, depressing sex lives, there would be less temptation to regulate these for them. After all, those dreadful, depressing sex lives do far more damage and cause far more misery than, say, Enron ever did.

Agreed, but most people don't know how. I really believe that explicit, formalized social education (literally how to date, how to communicate effectively with your partner, how to break-up without resorting to firearms, how to effectively and positively deal with anger, etc.) would pay large societal dividends. Why is expected that one must go to school to learn thermodynamics, chemistry, and multi-variable calculus, but you're just supposed to learn all the social stuff on your own?
posted by LordSludge at 7:22 AM on January 16, 2007


If this thing is upheld then my mailman is toast.
posted by Dizzy at 7:25 AM on January 16, 2007


This is exactly the kind of decision we need more of. If courts would point out poorly drafted laws, rather than trying to fix them by "interpreting" out the parts they find unpleasant, we'd get better written laws. As it stands, this law will in all likelihood be changed so that it makes more sense. This is the best possible outcome. An outcome where a law means something other than what it says, because some judges wanted to avoid a bizarre outcome is difficult to justify, since it takes away the predictability of the law as it is written. Not to mention it makes my life more difficult, as a law student.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:28 AM on January 16, 2007


IronWolve: "Michigan's Supreme Court majority has held that it is for the Legislature, not the courts, to decide when the absurdity threshold has been breached."

Just a note: that's sort of how American government works. Sounds as though the judge here did the best he could with a law written badly by people who weren't thinking very hard.

Sorry to rain on your outrage party, but this is a lame post.
posted by koeselitz at 7:34 AM on January 16, 2007


"Why do we increasingly elect legislators that are such morons? This law is the kind of legislation we can expect from "representatives" who live by the need to pander to non-thinking voters."

Um... The Adultury Felony has been on the books forever, but not enforced since the early '70s.

And just to provide context, folks, the appeals courts here in Michigan are usually pretty dece, but we have one of the worst Supreme Courts in the country (including a woman who was just reelected who was listed as one of the ten worst jurists in the country— a lot of people I know, since the ballots don't give party affiliation, voted for her because she's a woman and people in this area tend to vote for women and minorities if they don't see a party affiliation. That, combined with the hard campaigning she did on the West side of the state, which is full of inbred conservative fucktards [and quonsar] was enough to get her another term). They're consistently hard-right and literalist, including upholding a prosecution of a man for swearing in front of women and children, a law that hadn't been enforced in 100 years. Unfortunately, voters have consistently failed to throw the bums out, often not even knowing which bums were which.
posted by klangklangston at 7:41 AM on January 16, 2007


It's a loud way to say, "try harder guys" is to put someone in a concrete cell for the rest of their life.
posted by nervousfritz at 7:42 AM on January 16, 2007


In fact, I should say more. This post qualifies as trolling. It's cobbled together from (unattributed) quotations from the link, and it's fashioned specifically to make it seem as though there's some sort of holy war against cheaters going on when there is no such thing happening; in reality, an arcane technicality in a poorly-written statute is being pointed up by a local judge in Michigan so that the state legislature gets the message that it needs to revise the statute and the supreme court gets the message that interpretation should be left to the courts. No "we hate cheaters! Burn them! They're sinners!" here. Just obscure legal statutes leading to a result which all parties agree is "absurd." Exactly how does this differ from all of the other outdated or poorly-written statutes on the books which need to be revised all over the U.S.?
posted by koeselitz at 7:43 AM on January 16, 2007


Koeselitz— Wolvie likes to grind the "man's rights" axe.
posted by klangklangston at 7:46 AM on January 16, 2007


This post qualifies as trolling.

michigan politics and journalism qualify as trolling ... hth
posted by pyramid termite at 7:48 AM on January 16, 2007


that's sort of how American government works

Justice Marshall weeps.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:54 AM on January 16, 2007


What are you talking about koeseltiz? This is a great post. The article was quite well written. How often does a news story about a decided case give you the little insights like the stabs at Cox and at the MI supreme court?
posted by caddis at 7:56 AM on January 16, 2007


delmoi, you really wouldn't necessarily have to be actively engaging in sex while committing the crime. If she is in the car you just stole, she's an accessory whether or not you were mating like rabbits.
posted by ninjew at 7:59 AM on January 16, 2007


klang: I'm well aware. I remember the drunk-rape snafu.

caddis: "What are you talking about koeseltiz? This is a great post. The article was quite well written. How often does a news story about a decided case give you the little insights like the stabs at Cox and at the MI supreme court?"

How many comments has it taken us to get past the suspicion that this is a puritan attack on sexual rights to the point where we can talk about the real issues involved, like judicial review? Personally, I liked the article, but this post was akin to throwing a good link on female genital mutilation up with a header of CIRCUMCISION IS EVIL.
posted by koeselitz at 8:09 AM on January 16, 2007


Heywood Mogroot: "Justice Marshall weeps."

That's an interesting point. But interpretation has limits. I agree with the appeals judge's notion that the Michigan Supreme Court is being a bit silly in banning interpretation, but is it possible to interpret away bad statutes? This judge's ruling is a bit ingenious, as it sends the message "something has to change" to several people at once.
posted by koeselitz at 8:11 AM on January 16, 2007


Marriage is already a life sentence, so I don't see what the big deal is. /smirk

I realize this is an old law, but this sudden (?) interest in enforcing it is what is noteworthy. The amazing thing about actions like this is that, in the aggregate, they tend to make heterosexual couples LESS interested in getting married.

The fundamentalists are going to "protect marriage" to the point noone gets married anymore.

Once benefits for "domestic partners" becomes ubiquitous, which it will, followed then by the inevitable change to the tax code, then there will be little reason to get married anymore.

Basically, we either have to open the system to gay marriage, or we change the system to no longer offer benefits to being married.

Marriage is probably 50 years from becoming a purely religious exercise.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:13 AM on January 16, 2007


Ynoxas, is there any interest in enforcing it? The state appealed a criminal sexual conduct decision, but I don't think that related to a CSC conviction related to adultery. As far as I can tell, no one in this story wants to enforce laws against adultery.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:17 AM on January 16, 2007


How many comments has it taken us to get past the suspicion that this is a puritan attack on sexual rights

I don't think anyone ever thought that it was. I guess I just don't see it the way you do.

This judge's ruling is a bit ingenious, as it sends the message "something has to change" to several people at once.

True, but some poor schmuck is looking at 20 to life just so they can send a message. They easily could have found the statute unconstitutional as being vague or better on privacy grounds, such as the gay sex ruling mentioned above. Instead they play with some guys life. Nice.
posted by caddis at 8:22 AM on January 16, 2007


The judge was just trying to make a point to the prosecutor about being overzealous, I think.
posted by empath at 8:31 AM on January 16, 2007


The fundamentalists are going to "protect marriage" to the point noone gets married anymore.

for pete's sake ... this isn't about fundamentalists, it's about judges who have to interpret poorly written laws that mean hearted prosecutors are trying to take ruthless advantage of
posted by pyramid termite at 8:33 AM on January 16, 2007


Adultery is the case that they gave me, yo.
posted by troybob at 8:41 AM on January 16, 2007


Like people need yet another reason to avoid going to Michigan...
posted by clevershark at 8:44 AM on January 16, 2007


the denizens of this thread are a BUNCHA FUCKING KNEEJERK DOUCHEBAGS. my mind boggles at the way reality has been bent over, sodomized and discarded like a crusty spunk towel by the wailing wizards of asswipery eager to portray every silly sexually related item as if it were a personal attack on thier imagined right to fornicate forever like feverish farmstock.

legislators adopt poorly worded law all the time. in every state. the citizens of this state are not contemplating listing adulterers as sex offenders, and this has nothing at all to do with teh gay marriage. this is the system working as it should, exposing another piece of shoddy legislation. and the supreme court is right - courts should not make law. legislators should clean up after themselves. you should all go shower off the manure.
posted by quonsar at 8:47 AM on January 16, 2007


It's a loud way to say, "try harder guys" is to put someone in a concrete cell for the rest of their life.
...
True, but some poor schmuck is looking at 20 to life just so they can send a message.


Is that actually the case here? Is the guy actually going have this thing apply to him?
posted by delmoi at 8:51 AM on January 16, 2007


Don't let quonsar's fancy words distract us from defending against this legislative abuse of our sexual freedoms. Evil triumphs when horny people do nothing.
posted by troybob at 8:58 AM on January 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is the guy actually going have this thing apply to him?

That's the way it reads, but I'm not sure either. The poor bastard sounded like he had a pretty good thing going before he got busted.

This thread is funny.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:59 AM on January 16, 2007


caddis: "I don't think anyone ever thought that it was. I guess I just don't see it the way you do."

The confusion keeps coming up:

Malor: "Marriage is between a man and a woman, and it's for life... or else... Land of the Free my ass."

i_am_a_jedi: "I see the morality police have been busy again."

Ynoxas: "The fundamentalists are going to "protect marriage" to the point no one gets married anymore."


The wording of this post makes it clear that it's supposed to be "look what awful things they're trying to do to these poor men who broke an arcane legal code!" When, in fact, the article linked is a pretty interesting discussion of the legal system in Michigan.

I'm not going to go on about this too much, but I feel as though IronWolve has a long way to go in learning not to make his posts as inflammatory as possible. This is supposed to be another in his "sex and marriage laws are far too stringent, and abusive toward men" series of posts. Unfortunately for him, the article linked is actually about something entirely unrelated.
posted by koeselitz at 9:00 AM on January 16, 2007


Ynoxas, is there any interest in enforcing it? The state appealed a criminal sexual conduct decision, but I don't think that related to a CSC conviction related to adultery. As far as I can tell, no one in this story wants to enforce laws against adultery.

The problem is, someday, a prosecutor (or someone else with influence) will decide that you need to be 'taken care of', or that you're a thorn in their side. Having a law on the books that lots of people break but isn't usually enforced just allows for selective punishment of People We Don't Like.

It's like the old "you have nothing to worry about if you don't have anything to hide" saw, and just as shortsighted.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 9:01 AM on January 16, 2007


Like people need yet another reason to avoid going to Michigan...

well at least we have a decent baseball team, which is more than you can say

the denizens of this thread are a BUNCHA FUCKING KNEEJERK DOUCHEBAGS.

on metafilter? ... i am shocked, SHOCKED

Is the guy actually going have this thing apply to him?

maybe ... but what are they going to do when they get the woman up there to testify and she takes the 5th?

think about it ... in just about ANY civil or criminal case where the adulterous conduct of someone becomes an issue or a matter of testimony, they can now take the 5th

Don't let quonsar's fancy words distract us from defending against this legislative abuse of our sexual freedoms.

and check under your bed before you turn off the lights, too
posted by pyramid termite at 9:02 AM on January 16, 2007


delmoi: "Is that actually the case here? Is the guy actually going have this thing apply to him?"

Rereading the article, probably not:

"Justices will decide later this year whether to review the Court of Appeals' decision to reinstate the CSC charge."

...although the article, we should note, doesn't actually say what the sentence was; even if it does quote the judge as saying that adultery could lead to life imprisonment, that might not be the sentence handed down in this case.
posted by koeselitz at 9:07 AM on January 16, 2007


This is going to be an awesome episode of Law and Order. Finally, Jack McCoy will be called to task for his history of philandering!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:10 AM on January 16, 2007


Ah, now I know why my ex-bro-in-law left the state. Perhaps he was aticipating retroactive criminal charges.

I've lived in Michigan my whole life, and it is a beautiful state. But the absurdity threshhold is pretty high here. We just dont' get as much attention as say, Texas.

We've been stuck with too many Repub officials for a long time. (Inlcuding that idiot Engler who had 12 years to wreak havoc on social systems while doing nothing to promote a diversified economy.)

Even the black Dems in Detroit are also (hypocritical) conservative religious types in some ways. (Adulterer Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick once famously said his opposition to gay marriage was "a Jesus thing.")

We need a law that puts people in prison whose names are double entendres. Beginning with Mike Cox.

FYI Purty-boy Mike Cox ran a "pro-family" homophobic ad during his first campaign. I suspect he's sublimating.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:16 AM on January 16, 2007


It "could" be used against the person in question.

This takes it out of the realm of the imaginary and arcane.

This is not the same as a law against putting a horse in a bathtub in a brothel on Thursday, or other antiquated ridiculous remnants of a day gone by.

This could very well be used to confine someone to prison for a Very Long Time (tm).

Who do you think would act quicker? The legislature? Or a zealous prosecutor?

The law is hah-hah silly and ridiculous... until it is applied to someone. The things that are considered felonies are sometimes shocking.

The justices should have declared it unconstitutional, and therefore FORCED the legislature to rewrite/update/eliminate it.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:17 AM on January 16, 2007


Doesn't anyone see the real problem with this ruling?

It is clearly a case of unconstitutional discrimination against sexy latino gardeners, hungy 18 yr old poolboys, and suave tennis instructors!
posted by papakwanz at 9:36 AM on January 16, 2007


...i'll be glad to address all their grievances in person...hungy indeed!
posted by troybob at 9:40 AM on January 16, 2007


If the women of Michigan just wore veils none of this would be necessary.
posted by any major dude at 9:43 AM on January 16, 2007


you should all go shower off the manure.

If I willingly bend over to put my head in the sand, is the sex consensual?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:45 AM on January 16, 2007


Nobody connects the attorney general with this -- N-O-B-O-D-Y -- and anybody who thinks otherwise is hallucinogenic.

Stoned AND stupid , but with so many precious degrees that didn't prevent him from remembering everybody his boss is a cheat ...that from a brief (and superficial) glance to the internets seems like a man who likes to defend kids but with campaigns that seems to have produced some very questionable result at the expense of some parent.

Guess that as long as you have a result to show, who cares if the method grinds some unfortunate and pennyless to ground , they are pereceived as "criminals" anyway by the moral brigades.
posted by elpapacito at 9:53 AM on January 16, 2007


If the women of Michigan just wore veils none of this would be necessary.

they put veils on sheep in ohio, and they've still got problems
posted by pyramid termite at 10:03 AM on January 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


but is it possible to interpret away bad statutes?

The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It, therefore, belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.


Hamilton, Federalist No. 78
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:21 AM on January 16, 2007


...Chief Court of Appeals Judge William Whitbeck, who signed the opinion along with Murphy and Judge Michael Smolenski, said that Cox's confessed adultery never came up during their discussions of the case...But he chuckled uncomfortably when I asked if the hypothetical described in Murphy's opinion couldn't be cited as justification for bringing first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges against the attorney general.

"Well, yeah," he said.


The judge should have had the baliff detain the attorney general right then. Talk about sending a message...
posted by LordSludge at 10:25 AM on January 16, 2007


spaceman, I'm not saying no one would ever want to apply this law. I'm saying I don't think we need to fear some sort of wave of prosecutions by "fundamentalist" prosecutors, out to end adultery. No one has tried to apply this law to adultery, no one has suggested that it would be anything but insane to do so. A court has said that the law, as written, could be applied to adultery, but for no other reason than to try to convince the legislature to change the law.

Declaring a law unconstitutional because you don't like all the possible outcomes is a terrible way to operate. The legislature can probably, constitutionally, make an act that is not otherwise unlawful(sex) unlawful if it involves the commission of a felony. You can argue whether or not this case(involving a drug charge) is sufficiently related to meet this standard, but I don't think there's a good argument against the law as it is written. Would a charge under this law based on adultery as a felony stand? Probably not, since a law against adultery would probably not be constitutional. In either case, there is no adultery question before the court, it would be inappropriate for them to rule on that basis today. As it stands, their statement about adultery is probably dicta and not binding on anyone.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:27 AM on January 16, 2007


So this is how the women of Michigan plan to wipe out the legend of That Cheating Bastard once and for all. It's all a conspiracy, funded by the Oxygen Network and Lifetime.
posted by drstein at 10:27 AM on January 16, 2007


If the women of Michigan just wore veils none of this would be necessary.

BUT THEN THEY'D HAVE TO WALK EVERWHERE.
posted by quonsar at 10:42 AM on January 16, 2007


"FYI Purty-boy Mike Cox ran a "pro-family" homophobic ad during his first campaign. I suspect he's sublimating."

And during his last campaign. He's an asshole through and through, and our only real hope is for him to run and lose in a gubernatorial race. Then he too can be Posthumus.
posted by klangklangston at 11:04 AM on January 16, 2007


This thread is the most recursively Meta of any of Mefi's threads in a long, long, time.

But it has help whittle down the list of States were supposed good liberals can live proudly. The other 45 we can still bash the shit out of. And that makes my job as US State Insult Comic much easier.
posted by tkchrist at 11:21 AM on January 16, 2007


The judge should have had the baliff detain the attorney general right then. Talk about sending a message...

a fitting message it would be
posted by caddis at 11:36 AM on January 16, 2007


Like people need yet another reason to avoid going to Michigan...

We let stories like this break so we can keep the cool stuff to ourselves.
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:49 AM on January 16, 2007


A pity Newt Gingrich isn't a Michigan resident.
posted by nofundy at 11:52 AM on January 16, 2007


Oh koeselitz and klangklangston , tsk tsk tsk.
I was wondering who would attack me and the article. With direct cut and paste from the article and simple tags, it was not biased by me. But thanks for trying to imply it, made me laugh.

The articles main point that made me post this, The judges have to rule on these absurd laws, as they said, its up to the legislature to correct. Many people still believe the judge is there to provide a fair trail.
posted by IronWolve at 1:13 PM on January 16, 2007


quonsar spoke of an "[I]magined right to fornicate forever like feverish farmstock."

Oh c'mon Q, there's nothing imaginary about that right. Just because you're perfectly content to diddle your rubber chicken doesn't mean everybody else has to be.

But hey, I'm surprised anybody can fuck a Micigan woman. Or anything about Michigan.
posted by davy at 2:58 PM on January 16, 2007


Okay... Haha, poorly worded legislation and whatnot, but here's my question: What is the possible purpose of definition (c) to begin with? Not only is it too broad and vague, as is demonstrated here, but it's an awful statute to begin with, predicated on the belief that sex is inherently immoral to begin with. Why not criminalize thumb-sucking, or nose-picking, or breaking the sabbath in any way connected to a felony? This sort of ruling forces the law to be re-written or, if it makes things easier, have definition (c) repealed entirely. There's just no need for it.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:59 PM on January 16, 2007


on preview: I used the phrase "to begin with" at least three too many times tyhere. Apologies.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:01 PM on January 16, 2007


Why, that's outrageous. Why, if adultery could lead to life in prison, a lot of people might just decide not to get married after all.

Sound like another libral three-et to fam'la valyoos ta me. Bah gum. Yessir! Lib-uh-ral three-et. Shame!
posted by Twang at 3:34 PM on January 16, 2007


Maias: "I'm curious as to the sodomy laws in Michigan because you could then get all manner of legal complications if the penetration is in the wrong orifice, even with the "right" partner, I'd imagine?"

"But there was no Mens Rea, your honour. My client just has a lousy aim!"
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:02 PM on January 16, 2007


Here's Michigan Penal Penile Code MCL750.520b.

Fixed.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:31 PM on January 16, 2007


I kinda hope they enforce pass this law. It might hasten the death of this fucking ridiculous and awful religious institution/cultural paradigm called marriage.
posted by tehloki at 7:02 PM on January 16, 2007


But hey, I'm surprised anybody can fuck a Micigan woman.

i'd be surprised if YOU could fuck a woman
posted by pyramid termite at 10:15 PM on January 16, 2007


But hey, I'm surprised anybody can fuck a Micigan woman.

i'd be surprised if YOU could fuck a woman
posted by pyramid termite at 12:15 AM CST on January 17


Do you grow depressed with your manhood when not able to make happy with woman? Herbal Vi4gra, 100% safety, no prescription. Click here!
posted by Ynoxas at 6:40 AM on January 17, 2007


this fucking ridiculous and awful religious institution/cultural paradigm called marriage

true, for those too socially awkward to get a date, and for those too selfish to commit, this is a difficult institution
posted by caddis at 8:17 AM on January 17, 2007


Your insults are misplaced. What does getting a date have to do with marriage? Do you marry every girl you date? Additionally, did you just assume that people who aren't pro-marriage are social retards? I think there's more insecurity and social disfunction in vowing to only see -one- person in any intimate fashion. Do people really need to be trapped together to have a healthy sex life?

Regarding "too selfish to commit", personally, I think it's just as selfish to ask your partner to commit to you till death do you part. Why do you assume everybody is just as uncomfortable with the nature of human sexuality (biased heavily towards promiscuity) as you?
posted by tehloki at 11:51 AM on January 17, 2007


Of course, if you're fine with the idea of an open relationship and your partner isn't, then there's some issues that need to be discussed... but maybe those just aren't compatible views.
posted by tehloki at 11:52 AM on January 17, 2007


quonsar: the citizens of this state are not contemplating listing adulterers as sex offenders

It's not "the citizens" that I'd worry about. I'd worry a lot more about "the [insert name of power-hungry asshole here]".

Stupid laws are cute until somebody loses an eye their reputation, standing in the community, right to vote, or 20 years of their life.
posted by lodurr at 12:26 PM on January 18, 2007


... though I do have to say that I love, just love, the way that some people will pounce on the strangest thing as an excuse to launch diatribes about monogamy and marriage.

Folks, if you don't like it -- don't do it. Most gay folks are cool like that about being straight; why can't hedonists be cool like that about monogamy and marriage?
posted by lodurr at 12:29 PM on January 18, 2007


why can't hedonists be cool like that about monogamy and marriage?

because their wives all divorced them
posted by pyramid termite at 10:02 PM on January 18, 2007


Gee, it's sure funny to say that everybody who doesn't jive with the status quo is bitter and lonely, I know, let's do it some more.
posted by tehloki at 2:17 AM on January 19, 2007


You know what's also really funny?

When people can't see that they're being prescriptive, and project prescriptiveness onto other people.

That's hilarious! We should get more of that, too!
posted by lodurr at 5:25 AM on January 19, 2007


I didn't know the meaning of prescriptive, so I had to look it up.

"Based on or establishing norms or rules indicating how a language should or should not be used rather than describing the ways in which a language is used."

Now all I have to say is .....what?
posted by tehloki at 7:24 PM on January 19, 2007


2. Making or giving injunctions, directions, laws, or rules.
posted by caddis at 8:08 PM on January 19, 2007


I still have no idea what lodurr was talking about. Too many layers of sarcasm to wade through upthread.
posted by tehloki at 3:01 PM on January 20, 2007


Tehloki, you might start with this: "I kinda hope they enforce pass this law. It might hasten the death of this fucking ridiculous and awful religious institution/cultural paradigm called marriage."

That's as far down in the paint job as you need to scrape. From there on up, I don't think there are too many layers.
posted by lodurr at 7:37 PM on January 21, 2007


That wasn't sarcasm, that was whiskey.
posted by tehloki at 11:33 PM on January 21, 2007


Ah, I see the problem. You were mistaking the paint thinner for liquor again.

You need to move up to a better class of whiskey, my friend.
posted by lodurr at 6:19 AM on January 22, 2007


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