Gross Indecency Legal Definition

In People v. Howell, 396 Mich 16, 23-24; 238 NW2d 148 (1976), three of the six participating Justices rejected the Hicks-Carey-Dexter "common sense of society" test concluding that there was no common sense of society regarding sexual behavior between consenting adults in private. Instead, Justice Levin advocated a construction of the gross indecency statute that prohibited the following acts: "oral and manual sexual acts committed without consent or with a person under the age of consent or any ultimate sexual act committed in public." Id. at 24. Although Justice Levin's construction of the gross indecency statute was not binding, subsequent panels of this Court nonetheless followed the Howell definition of gross indecency, See: People v. Lino, 190 Mich App 715, 719; 476 NW2d 654 (1991), rev'd 447 Mich 567; 527 NW2d 434 (1994); People v. Lynch, 179 Mich App 63; 445 NW2d 803 (1989); People v. Emmerich, 175 Mich App 283; 437 NW2d 30 (1989), while other panels of this Court continued to follow the "common sense of society" standard. People v. Austin, 185 Mich App 334; 460 NW2d 607 (1990); People v. Gunnett, 158 Mich App 420; 404 NW2d 627 (1987).