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You be the (Sentencing) Judge
By Joe Bouchard
Published: 02/01/2016

Gavel-1
The following is an installment in "The Bouchard 101", a series featuring "Ice Breaker's" designed to promote training awareness and capabilities in the corrections industry.


Education and Criminal Justice are alike in that people often have very strong ideas about what should be done. There is an “If I were in charge” mentality, at times. But, there is often a great difference in what we think should be done, and what is actually done.

PART ONE:

First, name a crime. You may list crimes against property as a theme or crimes against persons. You may even mix them. Give a brief description of the offenses one at a time and ask what they think the punishment should be. You can tell them, “You be the judge”.

The key is to ask what the sanction ought to be in the humble opinions of class members.
  1. Third Degree Home Invasion
  2. Second Degree Home Invasion
  3. First Degree Home Invasion
  4. Breaking and entering a building or structure other than a dwelling
  5. Possession of Burglar’s Tools
  6. Driving on a suspended or revoked license in Michigan is a misdemeanor offense. If this is a first offense of this nature,
  7. However, if this is your second or subsequent conviction
  8. Stalking
  9. If you are found guilty of the above described offense and the victim involved was under the age of 18,
  10. Felony aggravated stalking
PART TWO:

Have two teams compete against each other in a quiz about what the actual sanctions in a certain jurisdiction. Cite your source. In this case, it is Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Closest to instructor’s list of sentences in certain jurisdiction wins a point. As in part one, give a brief description of the offense.


Third Degree Home Invasion

If you are accused of breaking and entering into a dwelling (without permission) with the intent to commit a misdemeanor or if while within you break the terms of your probation, parole, or a protection order, you could face charges of home invasion in the third degree.

1. What is the sentence?

This offense is a felony charge and carries up to 5 years in prison and fines reaching $2,000.


Second Degree Home Invasion

Second degree home invasion charges apply if you are believed to have broken into and entered a dwelling without permission, with intent to commit a felony, larceny, or assault while within, whether or not your were successful.

2. What is the sentence?

If convicted, this offense carries up to 15 years in prison and fines reaching $3,000.


First Degree Home Invasion

You could be facing first degree home invasion charges if you break and enter a dwelling with the intent to commit a felony, larceny, or assault, and you are either armed at the time or someone is present within the dwelling.

3. What is the sentence?

This offense carries up to 20 years in prison and $5,000 in fines if convicted.


If the crime of breaking and entering is committed on a building or structure other than a dwelling, you could face this charge.

4. What is the sentence?

Breaking and entering (B & E) carries a potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison upon conviction.


Possession of Burglar’s Tools

If you are accused of possessing the tools of a burglary, usually those that can help you gain access to secure areas, and it can be proven that burglary was your intended use for them.

5. What is the sentence?

You could face this felony charge and up to 10 years in prison.


Driving on a suspended or revoked license in Michigan is a misdemeanor offense.

6. What is the sentence?

If this is a first offense of this nature, you face a potential sentence of up to 93 days in jail and up to $500.


However, if this is your second or subsequent conviction the sentence could change.

7. What is the sentence?

You face up to 1 year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.


What is considered stalking under Michigan law?

The term stalking can be confusing in and of itself. A few legal definitions can help you understand the charges against you as defined by Michigan’s stalking laws (MCL 750.411h).

Stalking: a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

Harassment: conduct directed toward a victim that includes, but is not limited to, repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable individual to suffer emotional distress and that actually causes the victim to suffer emotional distress.

What contact is considered “unconsented”?

Consent is a key element of a stalking charge. Unconsented contact is any contact that the other party does not want and can include:
  • Sending email or posted mail
  • Being in visual contact with
  • Approaching
  • Confronting
  • Calling
  • Entering that persons property or workplace
Michigan Criminal Stalking Penalties

If you are found guilty of the above description of stalking,

8. What is the sentence?

You will be facing misdemeanor penalties, which could be up to one year in prison and fines of up to $1,000.


If you are found guilty of the above described offense and the victim involved was under the age of 18,

9. What is the sentence?

You are facing felony status and a sentence of up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

The court may also require a restraining order, counseling, anger management classes, or other remedies if you are convicted.


Aggravated stalking is a serious felony. (MCL 750.411i) What makes it different than misdemeanor stalking is that one of the following situations must apply:
  1. One of the committed actions making up the offense was in violation of an existing restraining order.
  2. One of the committed actions making up the offense was a violation of probation, parole, or pre-trial release.
  3. The offense involves at least one believable threat against the victim, their family, or another individual living with the victim.
  4. You have previously been convicted of misdemeanor stalking, i.e. it is a second offense stalking charge.


Joe Bouchard is a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections and a collaborator with The International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP). He is also the author of “IACTP’s Corrections Icebreakers: The Bouchard 101, 2014”. The installments in this series include his opinions. The agency for which he works is not in any way responsible for the content or accuracy of this material, and the views are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of the agency. While some material is influenced by other works, all of the icebreakers have been developed by Joe Bouchard.

Visit the Joe Bouchard page

Other articles by Bouchard:


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