Michigan

(information last updated Fall 2017)

Ongoing Projects:

State Project:

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) runs a volunteer water quality monitoring group, the Michigan Clean Water Corps, which was created by executive order in 2003.  See Exec. Order No. 2003-15 (2003).  “The primary responsibility of the Corps shall be to assist the DEQ in establishing a comprehensive statewide volunteer water quality monitoring network . . . and to encourage the participation of other water quality monitoring programs in the Corps.”  Id.  The Corps shall “[s]olicit and organize volunteer monitors[;] . . . [a]ssist the DEQ in educating Michigan citizens about water quality issues[;] . . . assist the DEQ in gathering and exchanging reliable and meaningful water quality data for water resources management and protection programs[;]” recruit volunteers online; and “[d]evelop a volunteer monitoring recognition program.”  Id.

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No.  A person must have been “forbidden” to enter another’s land for such entry to constitute criminal trespass.  Mich. Comp. Laws 750.552(1)(a).

Other Provisions:

Trespass against a “key facility” is a felony.  Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.552c(1).  Key facilities are chemical manufacturing facilities, refineries, electric utility facilities, water treatment facilities, LNG facilities, transportation facilities, pulp or paper manufacturing facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, waste treatment or disposal facilities, or “substantially similar” facilities.  Mich. Comp. Laws Ann.  § 750.552c

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“(1) As used in this section:

    (a)  ‘Course of conduct’ means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of 2 or more separate noncontinuous acts evidencing a continuity of purpose.

    (b)  ‘Emotional distress’ means significant mental suffering or distress that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

    (c)  ‘Harassment’ means conduct directed toward a victim that includes, but is not limited to, repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable individual to suffer emotional distress and that actually causes the victim to suffer emotional distress.  Harassment does not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose.

    (d)  ‘Stalking’ means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

    (e)  ‘Unconsented contact’ means any contact with another individual that is initiated or continued without that individual's consent or in disregard of that individual's expressed desire that the contact be avoided or discontinued. Unconsented contact includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

        (i) Following or appearing within the sight of that individual.

        (ii) Approaching or confronting that individual in a public place or on private property.

        (iii) Appearing at that individual's workplace or residence.

        (iv) Entering onto or remaining on property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual.

        (v) Contacting that individual by telephone.

        (vi) Sending mail or electronic communications to that individual.

        (vii) Placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual.                          

    (f)  ‘Victim’ means an individual who is the target of a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment.

(2)  An individual who engages in stalking is guilty of a crime as follows:

    (a)  Except as provided in subdivision (b), a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

    (b)  If the victim was less than 18 years of age at any time during the individual's course of conduct and the individual is 5 or more years older than the victim, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.”  Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.411h.

Civil Law:

“(1) A victim may maintain a civil action against an individual who engages in conduct that is prohibited under section of the Michigan penal code, Act No. 328 of the Public Acts of 1931, being sections of the Michigan Compiled Laws, for damages incurred by the victim as a result of that conduct.  A victim may also seek and be awarded exemplary damages, costs of the action, and reasonable attorney fees in an action brought under this section.

(2) A civil action may be maintained under subsection (1) whether or not the individual who is alleged to have engaged in conduct prohibited under section of Act No. 328 of the Public Acts of 1931 has been charged or convicted under section of Act No. 328 of the Public Acts of 1931 for the alleged violation.”  Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 600.2954.

Use of Information:

Although our research is incomplete, these provisions could be construed to allow the use of information collected by citizens:

Explicitly Allows:

The Michigan Clean Water Corps may “assist the DEQ in gathering and exchanging reliable and meaningful water quality data for water resources management and protection programs.”  See Exec. Order No. 2003-15.

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that the claim “is well grounded in fact.”  Mich. Ct. R. 2.114.

Discussion

Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.