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April 10, 2017

MSC grants leave to consider whether courts are bound by the sentence of one day to life for a conviction of indecent exposure by a sexually delinquent person

The Michigan Supreme Court granted leave to appeal in People v Arnold, No. 154764, ordering the parties to address whether MCL 750.335a(2)(c), the statute addressing indecent exposure by a sexually delinquent person, requires the mandatory imposition of a sentence of 1 day to life or whether the sentencing court may impose a sentence within the applicable sentencing guidelines range.
 
A jury convicted defendant of indecent exposure by a sexually delinquent person under MCL 750.335.a(2)(c) after defendant exposed himself in a public library elevator. MCL 750.335a(2)(c) provides that an act of indecent exposure while “a sexually delinquent person” “is punishable for an indeterminate term, the minimum of which is 1 day and the maximum of which is life.”  The trial court sentenced defendant to 25 to 70 years’ imprisonment.
 
After an appeal by defendant, the Court of Appeals initially rejected defendant’s claim that the trial court erred by imposing a sentence in accordance with the sentencing guidelines rather than an indeterminate sentence of one day to life as provided in MCL 750.335a(2)(c).
 
However, the Court of Appeals later reconsidered its earlier opinion and reversed course, remanding for the imposition of the mandatory sentence of one day to life as provided in MCL 750.335a(2)(c). The Court of Appeals reasoned that during the reconsideration period, the published opinion in People v Campbell, __ Mich App __ (2016) (Docket No. 324708) clarified that while the sentencing guidelines are now advisory rather than mandatory pursuant to People v Lockridge, 498 Mich 358 (2015), “the sentence provided under MCL 750.335a(2)(c) is stated in mandatory terms.” Thus, after Lockridge, trial courts must sentence a defendant convicted of indecent exposure as a sexually delinquent person consistent with the requirements of MCL 750.335a(2)(c).
 
The Michigan Supreme Court granted leave, asking the parties address the following issues:
 
(1) whether MCL 750.335a(2)(c) requires the mandatory imposition of “imprisonment for an indeterminate term, the minimum of which is 1 day and the maximum of which is life” for a person who commits the offense of indecent exposure by a sexually delinquent person, or whether the sentencing court may impose a sentence within the applicable guidelines range;
 
(2) whether the answer to this question is affected by this Court’s decision in People v Lockridge, 498 Mich 358 (2015), which rendered the sentencing guidelines advisory; and
 
(3) whether People v Campbell, ___ Mich App ___ (2016) (Docket No. 324708), was correctly decided.

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