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A Better Partnership
May 26, 2010

COA Opinion: A trial court may only sentence a defendant to lifetime electronic monitoring, pursuant to MCL '' 791.285, if the defendant has been released from prison and/or parole

On May 25, 2010, the Michigan Court of Appeals published its opinion in People v. Kern, Case No. 289478, affirming the trial courtƒ''s denial of the stateƒ''s motion to amend the defendantƒ''s sentence to require lifetime electronic monitoring.' The Court of Appeals concluded that MCL '' 791.285 only provides for the implementation of lifetime electronic monitoring for defendants who are released from prison and/or parole.

In Kern, the defendant pled guilty to one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.' The trial court sentenced him to 365 days in jail and five years probation.' At the request of the probation officer, the state subsequently filed a motion seeking to amend the judgment of sentence to require lifetime electronic monitoring.' After reviewing the relevant statutes, the legislative history of those statutes, and an opinion by Judge Kolenda of the Kent County Circuit Court in an unrelated case, the trial court concluded that the statutory authority for this ruling was unclear and absent a clear directive, it denied the stateƒ''s motion without prejudice.' The state subsequently appealed the trial courtƒ''s decision by an application for delayed leave to appeal.

The Court of Appeals concluded that the power of a trial court to sentence a defendant to lifetime electronic monitoring for second-degree criminal sexual conduct, pursuant to MCL '' 750.520(c), is restricted by the requirements of MCL '' 791.285.' The court went on to hold that MCL '' 791.285 only allows an individual to be sentenced to monitoring upon his or her release from prison or parole.' The Court of Appeals concluded that in this statute ƒ''prisonƒ' and ƒ''paroleƒ' were terms of art.' It refused the invitation to expand the statute to include defendants who are released from ƒ''jailƒ' or ƒ''probation.ƒ'

Here, the defendant was not sentenced to prison.' He was never released on parole.' Instead, he was sentenced to 365 in jail and five years probation.' As such, the court was not empowered to impose lifetime electronic monitoring under MCL '' 791.285.

A copy of the order is here.

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