Uttering and publishing: What is that?

Bob of Grand Haven asked, "In Monday's Tribune, on Page 2, there were two references in 'Circuit Court Sentencings' that I don't understand. Please explain what the terms 'uttering and publishing' in the world of crime refer to."
Mark Brooky
May 15, 2013



It's an old legal term that doesn't really have anything to do with what it sounds like. I don't think my boss, Tribune Publisher Kevin Hook, is committing a crime every day by publishing the newspaper. Some may say they disagree, but they'd be uttering nonsense.

The law that's still on Michigan books goes back to the Great Depression: Act 328 of 1931 in the Michigan Penal Code, under "forgery and counterfeiting." It's a lot of legalese. The website for the Detroit-area law office of Jeffrey Buehner explains it for the rest of us:

"An uttering and publishing charge relates to allegations of forgery and/or counterfeiting. Uttering and publishing is a felony punishable by up to 14 years in prison. There are numerous 'instruments' that an uttering and publishing charge can relate to, but most frequently the 'instrument' involved is a check. The state must prove that the person charged with uttering and publishing published the forged/altered instrument as true with the 'intent to injure or defraud.'"

Our two neighbors sentenced for uttering and publishing, as listed in Monday's Circuit Court Sentencings, received lesser sentences. A Grand Rapids man and a Spring Lake man were both put on probation for 18 months, and ordered to pay restitutions and a fines.

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