The decision and opinion of the Court of Appeals has been released in the PEOPLE OF MI V DEONTON AUTEZ ROGERS, Docket No. 346348. The Michigan Court of Appeals (MCA) has interpreted the Ethnic Intimidation statute's use of "gender" to include transgender. On January 7, 2020, the trial judge quashed the information dismissing the charge of Ethnic Intimidation among other charges in the case. The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office on behalf of Fair Michigan filed an appeal stating that the trial court erred in reversing the district court's bind over.
WCPO asserted that a person who maliciously, and with the intent to intimidate or harass another based on the person's gender and causes physical contact with a person, commits the crime of Ethnic Intimidation. Defendant Rogers is alleged to have confronted the victim, a transgender woman, asked to see her genitalia to confirm her anatomy. He then taunted her by calling her a "man" before producing a gun, threatening to kill her, and shooting her during a struggle over the gun.
On appeal, MCA first held that the statute did not include transgender and affirmed the dismissal of the charge. The Michigan Supreme Court vacated the decision and remanded the case for reconsideration. Today WCPO and Fair Michigan are pleased that COA has reinstated the charge. *
"I could not be more pleased that the Court of Appeals has reinstated these charges and recognized that transgender citizens are now officially included under the Ethnic Intimidation Act. This is a huge win for the protection of the Transgender community," said Prosecutor Worthy.
Fair Michigan President Alanna Maguire said, "This decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals is an historic victory for the transgender community. By affirming that the definition of gender in our state's ethnic intimidation law includes transgender people, the Court has granted greater justice for crime victims. Fair Michigan was honored to work with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy in charging ethnic intimidation in this case, and we are thrilled by the Court's ruling. Charging ethnic intimidation is a powerful tool that can be used to protect our most vulnerable communities."
The Fair Michigan Justice Project (FMJP) is collaboration between the Prosecutor's Office and Fair Michigan Foundation, Inc. FMJP is a program that assists Michigan law enforcement officers and prosecutors in solving serious crimes against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons.
*To view the opinion(s) and any associated document(s), click the link(s) below.