Criminal defense attorney says proposed Michigan “Yes means Yes” legislation may be unenforceable in court

Rockind Law logo January 2015

Media Contact: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications, cell: 248.260.8466, barbara@eafocus.com

Southfield, Mich. — Sept. 16, 2015 — Neil Rockind, founder of Southfield-based criminal defense law firm, Rockind Law, says the Yes Means Yes legislation expected to be introduced this week by State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. and state Rep. Tom Cochran sounds good in theory but will prove challenging in a court of law. The legislation would require schools to include instruction about consent in sexual education classes and clarifying that sex between two parties where one has not explicitly said yes may be deemed an assault. It’s that latter part of the legislation the Rockind finds troubling.

“What if both parties fail to say yes? Who is the assailant, the first one of the parties to reevaluate the situation and then report it as a criminal sexual act? This is well intentioned legislation that may be unenforceable,” Rockind said. “Is an “uh-huh” a yes? Or was it an “un-huh” that was misunderstood? How about, “I think so”?

Rockind also raises the quandary of when the question about sex is a double negative.

“What if one party asks the other, “You aren’t saying no, are you? If the respondent says no, is the no in response to not saying no or is he or she saying, ”Yes, I am saying no.” It becomes and Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First?” situation, with parsed words amid serious allegations. Ultimately, the court is not in a better position to determine if an assault has occurred,” Rockind said.

Rockind said education and alcohol control efforts are more likely to reduce sexual assault on campus and among teens and young adults.

“The conversation is rightfully expanding on the risks of sexual assault among our young people, but legislation which is difficult or impossible to enforce in court may do more harm than good to victims,” Rockind said. “The fact of the matter is there are already laws that deal with sexual assault. The goal is to prevent them, not find more ways to prosecute them.”

About Rockind Law
Rockind Law is a Southfield, Michigan-based criminal defense law firm aggressively pursuing justice for individuals facing criminal charges, including white collar crime, drunk driving, narcotics and assault. To find out more about the firm’s services and resources, visit http://www.rockindlaw.com.

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