Thursday, January 18, 2007



This is hilarious:

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.
So far, this is just mind-bogglingly stupid. Here's what kicks it over into hilarity:
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.
Could Cox be, erm, hoisted by his, erm, petard? Possibly:
Murphy didn't return my calls Friday. But 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. "I never thought of it, and I'm confident that it was not something Judge Murphy or Judge Smolenski had in mind," Whitbeck told me Friday. 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.
But of course, prominent Michigan Republicans (and yes, Cox is one) are very much of the "Do as I say, not as I do" school of selective enforcement:
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." Hills said Sunday that Cox did not want to comment.
Gee, I wonder why.

It's not the judicial ruling that's stupid. It's the wording of the law, as passed by the Republican-majority legislature.

The Republicans are hoist by their own petard in more ways than one. The ruling, a strict interpretation of the wording of the law, was exactly what they say they want when they complain about "activist judges".
I wouldn't be so sure it's an accident. For Christian Reconstructionists, adultery is punishable by stoning. So a year or so in the clink is letting the miscreant off light.

I see another angle that may be unintended. Since it's men that "engage in sexual penetration," it would seem to make women exempt from prosecution.

It's like John 7 in reverse!
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