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Michigan Legislature Bill Fights Disorderly Conduct At Funerals

October 11, 2011

House Bill 4284 seeks to provide some common sense protection for people mourning at a funeral. It sets some simple standards for improper conduct from people who may ‘protest’ a funeral, like the Westboro Baptist Church.

This law would revise penalties for disruptive behavior within 500 feet of a funeral.

CONTENT House Bill 4284 (H-1) would amend the Michigan Penal Code to revise the prohibition against engaging in certain disruptive actions within 500 feet of a building or other location where a funeral, memorial service, or viewing of a deceased person is being conducted or within 500 feet of a funeral procession or burial.

The bill instead would prohibit all of the following in those areas:

— Making any statement or gesture or engaging in any conduct that would make a reasonable person attending that funereal, memorial service, viewing, procession, or burial under the circumstances feel intimidated, threatened, or harassed and that made any person attending that funeral, service, viewing, procession, or burial feel intimidated, threatened, or harassed.
— Making any statement or gesture or engaging in any conduct intended to incite or produce an imminent breach of the peace among those attending that funeral, memorial
service, viewing, or burial or traveling in that procession, and that caused an imminent breach of the peace among those attending that funeral, service, viewing, or burial or traveling in that procession.
— Making any statement or gesture or engaging in any conduct that was intended to, and did, disrupt the funeral, memorial service, viewing, procession, or burial.

The bill also would prohibit a person from intentionally obstructing, hindering, impeding, or blocking another person’s entry to or exit from a funeral, memorial service, viewing of a deceased person, funeral procession, or burial. This prohibition, however, would not apply to a person conducting or assisting in conducting the funeral, service, viewing, procession, or burial.

A person convicted of committing the current offense is guilty of a felony punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both. If an offender has a previous conviction for the offense, the penalty is up to four years’ imprisonment, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both. The bill would retain those penalties for the revised prohibitions.

 

Link to bill.

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From → Michigan Issues

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