There’s a fairly lengthy list of odd laws still on the books in towns across the state. Though they are rarely enforced, they are still present—making them enforceable. While some are just silly, others have caught the eyes of activists who say they need to be stricken from the books for good.
Simple because a law is present doesn’t mean it’s always enforced. The Detroit Free Press features a story alerting us to all of the outdated rules in towns and cities in the area, some of which are quite laughable.
In some areas you can’t have a sandwich in the cemetery, can’t throw snowballs, operate a gym that allows men and women to mingle, use profane language, paint a bird, loiter in the morgue, or neglect your wife. While some of these acts might actually be morally wrong to some people, the government is no longer recognized as being the moral compass in a community and many of these laws would be considered unconstitutional.
That’s the issue some people are taking with laws like the one that allows bars to ban homosexuals. Of course, no area bars enforce such a rule, but activists would like it repealed just the same.
According to the Free Press, most of these laws were enacted in the beginning of the 20th century and simply stayed on the books despite the gradual decline of enforcement. According to Clawson City Manager, “If we aren’t enforcing the laws, there isn’t an urgency to remove them.”
One man, slapped with a fine for cursing when he fell out of a canoe, feels differently. He apparently let out a string of foul language. The presence of children allowed him to be charged with one of these old laws. The Court of Appeals struck down the law, however, vindicating the man.
If the entire criminal appeals process is what it will eventually take to get these laws removed one by one, it could be a while before we see them gone. Because, although the police have the authority to enforce the laws, you won’t likely see them enforcing ones like the ban on “indulging in pointless, useless wandering from place to place within a public area without any excuse for such roaming other than impulse” as is a law in Washington Township.
Even when you are charged with a crime that seems trivial to you, the penalties can be very serious. It’s not likely that you have been charged with possessing a white cane (illegal in Pontiac) but you could be facing real criminal charges with real penalties.
Regardless what your charges are, I may be able to help. Contact us today for a consultation on your case.