Outdated state statutes may become history Laws against dueling, forcing women to marry to be nixed

By Tim Martin

Associated Press Writer

LANSING (AP) -- Let's be clear: the Michigan Legislature doesn't condone dueling or forcing women into marriage.

But state lawmakers moved this week to eliminate outdated statutes banning those activities. Prosecutors say newer, more modern laws already make it a crime to kidnap, enslave, kill, assault or hurt someone -- so they don't need the older laws covering crimes that rarely have been prosecuted in the past century.

It's part of an effort to update Michigan law and get rid of unnecessary or duplicative laws.

The Michigan Senate on Wednesday passed bills that eliminate dueling as a crime in the state. Those bills already passed the House and will soon be headed to Gov. Jennifer Granholm for her signature.

The Legislature also is sending bills to Granholm that repeal classifying prizefighting as a crime in state. Michigan has newer laws that deal with boxing, mixed martial arts and other similar contests.

Bills that get rid of the law making it illegal to compel a woman to marry also are headed to Granholm. The state has other laws dealing with kidnapping, sexual assault and related crimes.

"These are just no-brainers, things that we don't need to carry on the books," said Sen. Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks. "Everybody knows these things are illegal through other laws. It's not necessary to maintain them in this form."

Michigan lawmakers make similar attempts every few years to scrub the books of outdated laws. Legislators ask the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan if the state has obsolete crimes or crimes covered by other laws.

Other felonies that have been considered for deletion include teaching polygamy, promising to sell grain at a fictitious price and making a false protest on a boat.

The bills deleting obsolete laws are Senate Bills 763-67 and House Bills 6135-6137.

Published: Fri, Jun 11, 2010

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