Mackinac Center Praises Michigan Legislature’s Passage of Criminal Intent Bill

Reforms make it harder to prosecute people for unknowingly committing crimes

Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015

Chantal Lovell
Media Relations Manager

MIDLAND — The Mackinac Center for Public Policy praises the Michigan Senate for unanimously passing a criminal intent reform bill Tuesday. House Bill 4713 passed the House unanimously in October.

House Bill 4713 would introduce a default standard of intent to numerous criminal laws that are silent on the issue. Unless the Legislature explicitly states its desire otherwise, prosecutors would have to show a person acted recklessly to convict him or her of a crime. Mackinac Center Executive Vice President Michael Reitz issued the following comments on the Senate’s vote:

Traditionally, prosecutors had to show a person acted with a guilty state of mind in order to get a criminal conviction. Michigan has over 3,100 criminal offenses on its books, many of which are silent on the mental state necessary for conviction. HB 4713 would make Michigan a leader by ensuring that the people we are putting behind bars are those that broke the law knowingly or recklessly.

To interview Michael Reitz, or for additional comments on HB 4713, please contact Mackinac Center Media Relations Manager Chantal Lovell at 989-698-1914.