Sex Offender Status, Though Crime Lacked Sexual Angle

     GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (CN) – A marijuana grower who duct-taped a group of boys to chairs when he caught them trying to rob him must register as a sex offender, a Michigan appeals court ruled.
     It is undisputed that Vincent Bosca did not have sex on his mind when on June 13, 2011, he lay in wait to catch the thieves who had broken into his Sterling Heights house days earlier and stolen marijuana from his grow operation.
     The plan mostly worked, with Bosca and his associates, armed with a gun and a hatchet, catching three would-be thieves who turned out to be minor teenage boys, according to a ruling last week by the Michigan Court of Appeals.
     Apparently Bosca’s son had held some of the boys to break into the house a few days before to steal marijuana, which Michigan licensed Bosca to grow under the state’s Medical Marihauna Act.
     Bosca and his associates duct-taped the boys to chairs and tried to coerce them into bringing back a fourth boy who escaped, as well as any others involved in the prior heist.
     Two more boys arrived, only one of whom Bosca and his men managed to catch and duct-tape with the others.
     “The new arrival was able to call 911 before defendant smashed his phone; as punishment, defendant broke the sheath of his sword over the teen’s head,” the ruling states.
     By the time police responded to that 911 call, some of the boys had been held captive for at least three hours. In addition to duct-taped boys, blood, a sword, pliers and other weapons, officers also found Bosca’s 1.27 pounds of marijuana and marijuana plants.
     Of the 87 confiscated plants, 78 were identified as marijuana, and a professor who testified at Bosca’s trial called it unlikely that plants like those seized, infested with mold, spider mites and eggs, could be used for medical marijuana.
     A jury ultimately convicted Bosca was convicted of extortion, unlawful imprisonment, assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, delivery and manufacture of marijuana, and maintaining a drug house.
     In addition to a prison sentence of about five years, plus restitution, the Macomb Circuit Court found that the unlawful-imprisonment conviction required Bosca to register as a sex offender with the Michigan Sex Offender Registry (SORA).
     Though Bosca complained that such registration violates his Eighth Amendment rights, a three-judge panel with the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed on March 26.
     Citing the 2011 decision in People v. Fonville, the court held that “SORA registration requirement does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment even when the underlying offense has no sexual component.”
     The registration requirement serves as a way to protect the public from offenders, and not as a punishment, the court found. It is “a remedial regulatory scheme furthering a legitimate state interest,” Judge Mark Boonstra wrote for the panel.
     Boonstra did, however, note “there … remains something troubling about the fact that defendant, while an offender who may properly and constitutionally be required to register in furtherance of the purpose of SORA, is deemed a ‘sex offender’ even though the offenses of which he was convicted, including the offenses for which he is required to register, as well as the conduct underlying them, were wholly non-sexual in nature.”
     Since SORA’s short title and use of the undefined the term “sex offender” includes nonsexual crimes against minors, however, the court urged the Michigan Legislature “to eliminate its vagueness and ambiguity, and any resulting misperceptions.”

%d bloggers like this: