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Learn about the amendment to Mary’s Law in Michigan, allowing a judge to require an electronic monitoring device as a bail condition for any assault crime.

Mary’s Law: Michigan Expands Bond Provisions for People Being Prosecuted for Violent Crimes

A recent amendment of Public Act 192 of 2008—commonly known as Mary’s Law—expands its provisions to allow a judge or magistrate the discretion to require a defendant released on bail awaiting trial for any assaultive crime to wear an electronic monitoring device.

Previously, Mary’s Law was restricted to crimes involving domestic violence. A judge or magistrate may release defendants with bond conditions that are considered reasonably necessary to protect others. If a court orders the application of an electronic monitoring device, the defendant will not be released until he or she agrees to pay the associated costs of the device or to do community service if unable to pay. Also, if the victim provides informed consent, the court may order the provision of an electronic receptor device that alerts the victim if the defendant is within close physical proximity.

A defendant may be charged with a felony and two years in prison

In addition, the amendment requires that the court inform the defendant of the penalties for destroying, removing, or otherwise circumventing the operation of the device. A defendant may be charged with a felony with a maximum penalty of two years in prison, a fine up to $4,000.00, or both. Moreover, the individual may be subject to arrest, bail forfeiture or revocation, or the imposition of new conditions of release.

The assaultive crimes covered include assault and battery of DHS workers on duty; felonious assault; assault with intent to commit murder; assault with intent to great bodily harm less than murder; assault with intent to maim; assault with intent to commit a felony not otherwise punished; assault with intent to rob and steal while armed or unarmed; specific crimes against pregnant woman intended to cause stillbirth or miscarriage; death or great bodily harm to a fetus; attempted murder; explosives offenses; first and second-degree murder; manslaughter; kidnapping; taking a hostage; taking, carrying away, or enticing a child under age 14; mayhem; stalking and aggravated stalking; first-degree, second-degree, third-degree, and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC); assault with intent to commit CSC; use or possession of a dangerous weapon and aggravated assault; carjacking; use of force or assault while committing a larceny; or a violation of the Michigan Anti-Terrorism Act.

The Clare County prosecutor rallied for this legislation after an incident occurred in 2010. A 15-year-old girl was set to testify at a preliminary examination against a man accused of sexually assaulting her. Early that morning, the man broke into her home, abducted her, and took her nearly 200 miles away. He eventually killed her and then committed suicide.

The thinking seems to be that if this young woman had a receptor device, she would have been alerted that the defendant was in the area. It is true that judges have always had the authority to order reasonable bond conditions such as a GPS tether. The costs associated with this this technology can be great. Obviously, every judge needs to seriously assess the risk of harm to members of the public and balance this against the rights of an accused. This can be difficult. It is not always easy for a judge or magistrate to figure out the potential for violence, especially for defendants with no violent history.

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