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Criminal Justice & Legal System

State lawmaker seeking to remove exception in Michigan's marital rape laws

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A state lawmaker wants to close a loophole in Michigan’s marital rape law. A person currently cannot be convicted of rape solely because they had sexual intercourse with their spouse, while the spouse was mentally incapacitated.

It’s an exception in the state’s marital rape laws. And Representative Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) has introduced a bill to get rid of the exception.

“It was already on the books that, you know, marital rape is illegal," she said. "So the fact that there was this very obvious and repugnant loophole, was extremely surprising to me.”

Matt Wiese is the prosecuting attorney of Marquette County and soon to be president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan. He says this is a good loophole to close.

“We definitely would not want a spouse to be able to get away with drugging his or her spouse, then sexually assaulting them and getting away with it,” he said.

Wiese says prosecutor’s offices don’t see these cases every day, but he does believe prosecutors see – and have to deny - these types of cases every year.

Michigan is one of more than a dozen states with some form of exception for spouses who sexually assault their partners. The bill has received bipartisan support in the state House.

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