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A Better Partnership
December 23, 2013

Trial court erred by reading an “and” rather than “or” in pandering statute

The consolidated cases of People v. Norwood and People v. Hagar, concerned two who approached an undercover police officer for the purpose of soliciting her to leave Michigan to go work as a prostitute in Florida. The undercover officer was promised money, new clothing, shoes, a place to live, and cosmetic enhancement surgery, if she accepted the offer. Shortly, after this conversation the defendants were arrested for pandering.
However, the district court denied the prosecutor’s motion to bind over defendants on the charge finding that the defendants’ conduct did not satisfy all eight activities listed in MCL 750.455.  This decision was affirmed by the circuit court. The Michigan Court of Appeals disagreed, finding that the lower courts had erred by requiring that the defendants commit all eight activities described in the statute. The Court found that MCL 750.455 has eight different grounds on which a person may be guilty of pandering, any one of which is sufficient to find a person guilty of pandering without proving elements of the other prongs. The Court found that the couple could be held over under the sixth prong of the statute that says, “Any person ... who shall inveigle, entice, persuade, encourage, or procure any female person to come into this state or to leave this [state] for purposes of prostitution” and that there was no requirement under this prong that the person actually would “become a prostitute.” Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded the case.

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