PEOPLE OF MI V JEFFREY SCOTT HAYNESAnnotate this Case
STATE OF MICHIGAN
COURT OF APPEALS
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN,
September 23, 2008
Calhoun Circuit Court
LC No. 05-003503-FH
JEFFREY SCOTT HAYNES,
Advance Sheets Version
Before: Markey, P.J., and Whitbeck and Gleicher, JJ.
Defendant pleaded no contest to a charge of committing an “abominable and detestable
crime against nature” with a sheep. MCL 750.158. The trial court sentenced defendant as a
fourth-offense habitual offender, MCL 769.12, to 30 to 240 months’ imprisonment. In addition,
the trial court found that defendant’s actions indicated sexual perversion, so the court ordered
defendant to register under the Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA), MCL 28.721 et seq.
This Court initially denied defendant’s delayed application for leave to appeal,1 but our Supreme
Court, in lieu of granting leave to appeal, remanded this case to this Court for consideration as on
leave granted. People v Haynes, 477 Mich 1067 (2007). Defendant only appeals the propriety
of the trial court’s order requiring him to register as a sex offender. We vacate the part of the
trial court’s order requiring defendant to register as a sex offender because the SORA does not
apply to the portion of MCL 750.158 that prohibits bestiality.
The construction and application of the SORA presents a question of law that this Court
reviews de novo on appeal. People v Golba, 273 Mich App 603, 605; 729 NW2d 916 (2007).
The primary objective in construing a statute is to ascertain and give effect to the Legislature’s
intent. People v Williams, 475 Mich 245, 250; 716 NW2d 208 (2006). We begin this task “by
examining the plain language of the statute; where that language is unambiguous, we presume
that the Legislature intended the meaning clearly expressed—no further judicial construction is
required or permitted, and the statute must be enforced as written.” People v Morey, 461 Mich
325, 330; 603 NW2d 250 (1999). Unless they are otherwise defined in the statute or are terms of
art or technical words, we assign the words of a statute their plain and ordinary meaning. Id.;
People v Haynes, unpublished order of the Court of Appeals, entered October 5, 2006 (Docket
People v Meyers, 250 Mich App 637, 643; 649 NW2d 123 (2002). If a statute leaves words
undefined, we may consult a dictionary to “aid our goal of construing those terms in accordance
with their ordinary and generally accepted meanings.” Morey, supra at 330. Only if “the
statutory language is ambiguous may we look outside the statute to ascertain the Legislature’s
intent.” Id. Although we must, as far as possible, give effect to every word, phrase, and clause
in the statute, id., “[w]e ‘may read nothing into an unambiguous statute that is not within the
manifest intent of the Legislature as derived from the words of the statute itself.’” Bay Co
Prosecutor v Nugent, 276 Mich App 183, 189; 740 NW2d 678 (2007), quoting Roberts v
Mecosta Co Gen Hosp, 466 Mich 57, 63; 642 NW2d 663 (2002).
The statute that defendant was convicted of violating provides:
Any person who shall commit the abominable and detestable crime against
nature either with mankind or with any animal shall be guilty of a felony,
punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not more than 15 years, or if such
person was at the time of the said offense a sexually delinquent person, may be
punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for an indeterminate term, the
minimum of which shall be 1 day and the maximum of which shall be life.
It is patent that MCL 750.158 encompasses two categories of crimes: “abominable and
detestable crime[s] against nature” with a human being, and “abominable and detestable crime[s]
against nature” with an animal. A “crime against nature” at common law encompassed both
sodomy and bestiality. People v Carrier, 74 Mich App 161, 165; 254 NW2d 35 (1977).
“Michigan follows the common-law definition of sodomy,” which “covered only copulation per
anum,” not fellatio. People v Dexter, 6 Mich App 247, 250; 148 NW2d 915 (1967). Acts of
bestiality, however, included a broader range of conduct than that of common-law sodomy.
Carrier, supra at 166. An act of bestiality included any sexual connection between a human
being and an animal and is expressly prohibited by MCL 750.158.2 Carrier, supra at 166.
Subject to certain temporal exceptions not present here, the SORA requires an individual
who is convicted of a listed offense after October 1, 1995, to be registered under its provisions.
MCL 28.723(1)(a); Golba, supra at 605. Pertinent to this appeal, the SORA defines “listed
offense” as including “A violation of section 158 of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328,
MCL 750.158, if a victim is an individual less than 18 years of age.” MCL 28.722(e)(ii).
Our courts have not had occasion to construe MCL 28.722(e)(ii), and the SORA does not
define the terms “if” or “individual.” Random House Webster’s College Dictionary (1997),
provides the following definitions for “if”: “in case that,” “on condition that,” “a condition or
stipulation,” and “qualifications or excuses.” And, Random House Webster’s College Dictionary
(1997) defines “individual” as a “single human being” or “person.” This dictionary definition of
“individual” is consistent with the Legislature’s use of that word in other contexts associated
with being a crime “victim,” as it is in MCL 28.722(e)(ii). For example, when the word
To sustain a conviction under MCL 750.158, “sexual penetration, however slight,” is required.
MCL 750.159; Carrier, supra at 166.
“individual” is associated with the word “victim” in crime victims’ rights legislation, its context
potentially encompasses only human beings.
Thus, MCL 780.752(1)(l)(i) and MCL
780.811(1)(g)(i) define “victim” as “an individual” capable of having a spouse or a guardian.
Only human beings are able to marry and have spouses. Moreover, animals either are wild or
domesticated and owned by people; they do not have guardians in the legal sense. Similarly,
MCL 780.781(1)(g) and (i)(i) define “victim” as a “person who suffers direct or threatened
physical, financial, or emotional harm as a result of the commission of an offense” and “person”
as “an individual, organization, partnership, corporation, or governmental entity.” (Emphasis
added.) Also, unless a contract or statute provides a different definition, this Court has
recognized that the term “an individual” designates a natural person or a single human being.
See VanderWerp v Plainfield Charter Twp, 278 Mich App 624, 630 n 3; 752 NW2d 479 (2008)
(applying a dictionary definition to the undefined term “individual” in the General Property Tax
Act, MCL 211.1 et seq.), and Stoddard v Citizens Ins Co of America, 249 Mich App 457, 466;
643 NW2d 265 (2002) (construing an insurance contract).
As already noted, we must enforce the Legislature’s intent as expressed in the plain
language of the statute and use dictionary definitions to ascertain their plain, ordinary, and
generally accepted meanings. Williams, supra at 250; Morey, supra at 330. When we apply the
plain, ordinary, and generally accepted meanings of the words “if” and “individual” to
MCL 28.722(e)(ii), we conclude that a violation of MCL 750.158 requires registration under the
SORA for a listed offense only if the victim of the offense is a human being less than 18 years
old. Certainly, if one gives the language of the statute its plain and common usage, it is patent
that the sheep that was the object of defendant’s “abominable and detestable crime against
nature” is not a victim under MCL 28.722(e)(ii). Thus, we must conclude that the instant offense
is not a listed offense pursuant to MCL 28.722(e)(ii).3
On appeal, the prosecution asserts that “the age provision in MCL 28.722(e)(ii) is
intended to prohibit unnatural acts committed on minors, but not to exclude the bestiality
component of the sodomy statute itself.” But the plain meaning of the words the Legislature
used in MCL 28.722(e)(ii) undermines this argument. We believe that such an interpretation
would read language into the statute that it does not contain “and thus not within the manifest
intent of the Legislature as derived from the words of the statute itself.” City of Monroe v James,
259 Mich App 443, 450; 674 NW2d 703 (2003). Consequently, we must reject the prosecutor’s
argument because courts may not read or include provisions into a statute that the Legislature did
not. People v Underwood, 278 Mich App 334, 338; 750 NW2d 612 (2008).
The prosecution also argues that the trial court’s order was proper under the catchall
provision of MCL 28.722(e)(xiv), which allows a court to order registration for “[a]n offense
substantially similar to an offense described in subparagraphs (i) to (xiii) under a law of the
United States, any state, or any country or under tribal or military law.” The prosecution
For the same reasons that a conviction for bestiality under MCL 750.158 does not fall within
the purview of MCL 28.722(e)(ii), such a conviction is also not within the ambit of MCL
28.722(e)(xi), which includes “[a]ny other violation of a law of this state or a local ordinance of a
municipality that by its nature constitutes a sexual offense against an individual who is less than
18 years of age.”
presents this argument as one in the alternative should we, as we have, conclude that the
Legislature excluded bestiality convictions from MCL 28.722(e)(ii). We find it completely
illogical to conclude that the Legislature excluded an offense as a “listed offense” when
addressing a specific statute but then included the same previously excluded offense in an
unspecified catchall provision. Moreover, we find that by its plain language, MCL
28.722(e)(xiv) applies to offenses proscribed by federal law, the laws of other states, and laws of
other countries that are similar to the listed Michigan offenses. It does not apply to offenses
proscribed by the state of Michigan. Michigan offenses are already expressly enumerated as
listed offenses or included by operation of the other catchall provisions.
The prosecution also advances a policy argument in support of its contention that
bestiality is within the catchall “listed offense” provisions of the SORA. Specifically, the
prosecution argues, “It is unlikely that many people would not find the defendant’s behavior
disturbing, to the extent that it could endanger the ‘health, safety, morals, and welfare of the
people, and particularly the children, of this state,’” quoting the Legislature’s stated intent of the
SORA in MCL 28.721a. Our job, however, is to enforce the clear and unambiguous terms of the
statute as written. People v Gardner, 482 Mich 41, 50, 59; 753 NW2d 78 (2008); Morey, supra
at 330. If the Legislature chooses to amend or revise MCL 28.722(e)(ii) to require an individual
to register as a sex offender for violating MCL 750.158 by sexually assaulting an animal, it may.
Gardner, supra at 59-60. But this Court may not make the policy choice to require registration
as a sex offender for the type of offense in the instant appeal.
We vacate that part of the trial court’s order requiring defendant to register under the
SORA. We do not retain jurisdiction.
/s/ Jane E. Markey
/s/ William C. Whitbeck
/s/ Elizabeth L. Gleicher