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.
No one expects prosecutors to declare open season on cheating spouses. (Only on cheating men.)
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." (No mention of what happened to the gutter slut who traded sex for drugs. She probably got taxpayer funded therapy and a free house.)
Cox's office, which handled the appeal on the prosecutor's behalf, insisted that the waitress' consent was irrelevant. All that mattered, the attorney general argued in a brief demanding that the charge be reinstated, was that the pair had sex "under circumstances involving the commission of another felony" -- the delivery of the Oxycontin pills.
In many other states, judges may reject a literal interpretation of the law if they believe it would lead to an absurd result. But 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. (Look at who else decided to interpret the law literally when it would have meant putting a child-molesting female behind bars.*)
Needless to say, adultery will only mean life in prison if you are the politically incorrect gender. Remember, this is the same state that has already decreed that if a woman you are living with falls pregnant, you can not kick her out for any reason. No matter if she slept with the entire football team 9 months ago, if she's living with you and gets pregnant, you are left to foot the bill. Now if you cheat on her, you will be thrown in jail. Wonderful!
Footnote: Can someone send me the link to the case of the 40-something California female who flashed a 14 year old boy? In that case, the judge said that he wouldn't prosecute because according to the language in the statute, the law was only meant for men who exposed themselves. I read it on MANN a couple of months ago but I can't find it now.