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

ANSWER:

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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