In their opinions

“[I]f there ever was an area in which … disinfectant is the most needed, it is in the conducting of elections.”

Court of Appeals Judge William C. Whitbeck, writing for the majority in Practical Political Consulting v. Land.

“[M]any voters may wish to avoid the perceived annoyance and hassle of receiving large amounts of junk mail and solicitations that would result from the disclosure of their particular political convictions.”

Court of Appeals Judge Kirsten Frank Kelly, dissenting.

Whitbeck and Kelly were discussing the competing rationales for and against Freedom of Information Act disclosure of voters’ names, addresses and the political parties’ ballot the voters requested in the 2008 presidential primary.

Joined by Judge Stephen L. Borrello, Whitbeck prevailed on his view that disclosure was necessary to make sure that election officials had complied with a now-unconstitutional statute.

The law required the Secretary of State and other election officials to collect voter information in the 2008 primary and supply it exclusively to the state’s two major political parties.

A political consulting company made a FOIA request for the same information and prevailed in last week’s split-panel decision.

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“[A] defendant’s perjury at trial is not exceptional. If it were, ‘a departure might be warranted every time a defendant testified and was found guilty.'”

Court of Appeals Judges Joel P. Hoekstra, Cynthia Diana Stephens and Michael J. Kelly, in the unpublished per curiam decision of People v. Baker, quoting People v. Kahley, 277 Mich. App. 182 (2007).

The panel explained that a defendant’s admitted perjury is not reason enough to exceed the sentencing guidelines.

However, in this case, the trial court found that the defendant was a pedophile. The Baker panel said that was a great reason to ignore the guideline’s 9- to 15-year recommendation instead impose a 25- to 75-year sentence.

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In their opinions

[T]he concepts of habitually and regularity are antithetical to the circumstances of homelessness. If there is anything “habitual” to the sleeping arrangements of the homeless, it is that it is customary for them not to have the security of a customary place of lodging. If there is anything “regular” about the place where a homeless person lives, it is that it is not within a home.

– The Michigan Court of Appeals, explaining to the Ingham County prosecutor’s office why a homeless defendant can’t be charged with failing to comply with the Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA), MCL 28.721 et seq.

It seems fairly straightforward. SORA requires sex offenders to register their residential addresses, which are then published on a public Web site so you can see if one of them lives in your neighborhood.

In People v. Dowdy (On Remand) (published per curiam), Court of Appeals Judges Jane M. Beckering, Jane E. Markey and Stephen L. Borrello observed

The plain language of the statute employed by the Legislature here says the term “residence” refers to a place, a dwelling, an abode, where an individual has a “regular place of lodging.”

A “lodging” is defined to be “[a] place to live,” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1996), or “accommodations in a house, esp. in rooms for rent,”’ Random House Webster’s College Dictionary (1997).

The provisional location where a homeless person happens to spend the night does not fall within the ambit of these definitions.

A homeless person is not provided an accommodation by another as a place to habitually sleep or store personal items.

SORA is a “wise” idea, said the panel.

But the Legislature simply did not make provisions for convicted sex offenders to register an address when they don’t have one, and there’s no way to torture the statute to make it say otherwise.