Skip to Main Content
BlogsPublications | July 5, 2016
2 minute read

MSC holds that an individual can be charged with both election forgery and falsifying a name on a petition

A defendant can be prosecuted for both election forgery, a felony under MCL 168.937, and falsifying a name on a nominating petition, a misdemeanor under MCL 168.544c, according to the Michigan Supreme Court opinion in People v. Hall, No. 150677.  Lower courts had concluded that the two statutes conflicted, but the Court reversed, reasoning that the Legislature intended to provide different punishments for two distinct offenses.

Defendant was charged with 10 counts of felony forgery under MCL 168.937 in a district court, and the prosecutor moved to bind the case over to the circuit court to proceed with the felony charges.  However, the district court agreed with the defendant that the case could not be bound over to the circuit court, but the court found probable cause to go to trial in the district court on misdemeanor charges under MCL 168.944c.  On appeal, the circuit court affirmed the district court decision, finding that the two statutes conflict and MCL 168.944c(8) controls because it is more recent and more specific than MCL 168.937, and the court of appeals also affirmed.  Then, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed in a unanimous opinion, holding that the two statutes do not conflict, because, unlike MCL 168.944c, MCL 168.937 requires that the prosecutor prove defendant had intent to defraud.  The facts as alleged supported that the defendant violated both statutes, so the Court remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings.