Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

President Biden recently signed an executive order seeking to have the rules applicable to sexual misconduct cases reviewed.  Previously, President Trump had increased the due process of rights of the accused, bringing them more in line with the constitutional rights afforded those accused of sexual assault crimes in state and federal courts.

What Happens if a Student is a Victim of Sexual Assault?

If a college student believes that they have been sexually assaulted and want to bring the perpetrator to justice, they have many choices.  They can go to the police just as with any other crime.  Alternatively, they can report it their school. Or they can do both. Or they can have both done for them. Much of this will depend on the particular school involved.

In the most basic terms, statutory rape means consensual sex with a minor child. Michigan does not actually call this “statutory rape” to describe this crime. Instead, Michigan’s rape laws use the phrase criminal sexual conduct as the term for statutory rape.

Michigan’s rape laws are divided into four degrees of criminal sexual conduct. All four degrees can be triggered by the age of at least one of the actors, fitting the generic definition of statutory rape. Regardless of the degree of criminal sexual conduct, the basic idea of statutory rape is preserved under these laws, which is that an individual under the age of consent does not have the capacity to consent and, therefore, cannot give consent.

Thus, even if a person under Michigan’s age of consent is 100% willing and voluntarily agrees to engage in the sex act, they still cannot legally consent.  In this instance, yes does not mean yes.

A man charged with second degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) in Ann Arbor successfully avoided jail time and conviction on the charge as filed. The accused was originally arraigned on the CSC 2nd degree charge on July 29, 2020. The charge was a result of an investigation into a complaint from a 10-year-old girl who was under the care of the accused. The allegation was that the victim was touched in a sexual way by the accused while being cared for by the accused in the home of the accused.

What are the penalties for 2nd degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan?

The potential consequences for second degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan are severe. CSC 2 is a felony that cannot be expunged. If convicted, you could be sent to state prison for up to 15 years. A conviction also requires that the defendant registers as a sex offender under Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA). If the victim was less than 13 years old and the defendant was at least 17 years old, as in the case above, then the convicted defendant will be required to wear an electronic monitoring device for a lifetime. The convicted defendant must also pay for the cost of that monitoring device.

While no statistics are readily available to answer this question, anecdotal evidence suggests that human trafficking is more common in Oakland County Michigan than most people realize or want to admit. This contention is informed by a recent press announcement by Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney Karen McDonald.

Ms. McDonald addressed the media when announcing a significant human trafficking bust in Madison Heights, a suburb of Detroit Michigan. During this press conference, Ms. McDonald indicated that her new administration had formed Oakland County’s first ever human trafficking unit. Furthermore, that under her administration, rather than assemble a special drug unit, her administration will focus on the identification, investigation, interdiction, and prosecution of those involved in human trafficking.

This public announcement comes days after Michigan’s Attorney General announced Michigan’s Human Trafficking Commission’s 2020 Annual Report.  This 20-page report, available online, explains the framework under which Michigan’s Human Trafficking Commission operates, and a summary of the Commission’s work in 2020.

Force, also known as coercion, is a legal term of art. It is a legal concept that is specifically listed or referenced in each of Michigan’s Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) offenses, 1st Degree through 4th Degree. Overall, Michigan’s Criminal Sexual Conduct defines force as actual physical force, the threat of force, the threat to retaliate against the victim, extortion or threat thereof, kidnapping or threat thereof, concealment of something to commit the assault, surprise, or, in a medical environment, it fake or unethical medical procedures. However, as often the case in legal jurisprudence, there are some slight differences in each degree of criminal sexual conduct.

Force Related to Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan:

In CSC 4th Degree, MCL 750.520e(b) states the following:

A question the criminal defense lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm are often asked by their client’s is whether it would be beneficial to begin in therapy. Although the question is typically offered in the context of “will it help my case” or “will it make me look better in front of the judge or prosecutor” this is only one aspect that underlies this question.

We have found that many persons involved in allegedly criminal behavior are doing so as an outgrowth or sublimation of an ongoing and improperly treated mental health issue. In the case of an allegation of intoxicated or drunk driving the individual may be suffering from an unmitigated substance use disorder. In such a case, the substance use disorder may be a further sublimation of a mood or personality disorder. On the other hand, a person accused of receiving, distributing, or producing child pornography may have themselves been abused as children or suffer from an addiction to pornography. These are just two examples of how the alleged criminal behavior is really a manifestation or symptom of something else.

Understanding the complexity of the issue, the criminal defense lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm often interview our clients with an ear toward thinking of what additional services might benefit them. If we believe that therapy will help them improve their lives, we will often make referrals to various mental health individuals or group centers. In doing so we are seeking primarily to help fulfill the Firm’s mission, which is to help our client’s win back their lives.

If someone calls the police to report a rape case in Michigan, it will immediately be taken very seriously. Police have a duty to thoroughly investigate claims of rape, known as “Criminal Sexual Conduct,” under Michigan law. If you’re being accused of rape, an experienced Michigan rape attorney will be able to take some of the unknown out of the situation and advise as to what will happen next and the best steps to take to avoid a criminal sexual conduct charge being filed.

Police Will First Meet with the Accuser

After the initial call to the police, the case will be assigned to a detective with sex crimes investigative training and experience. The detective will ask the accuser to meet- usually at the accuser’s home or at the police department- to discuss the claim in person. The detective will want to obtain the “who, what, where, and when” of the claim. Who did it? Who else was there? What exactly happened? Where did it happen? When did it happen?

Pornography has never been easier to access. Anyone with a smart phone can readily obtain all kinds of pornography. While porn sites are often clearly named, such as Pornhub, other platforms containing pornographic images are less obvious and include many kinds of social media, such as such common apps like Tumblr and Instagram, various chat groups like Kik, and video sharing sites like BitTorrent.  Regardless of the means used to access pornography one thing remains constant. No matter how careful a person in when trying to cover up their digital footprint, chances are a good forensic analyst will be able to uncover that which is meant to stay private.

Child pornography is always illegal to receive, possess, distribute, or manufacture.  Many people believe that if they delete images on their phone or computer, these images are really deleted. However, simply hitting delete rarely actually destroys the evidence. If this were true, then nearly all child pornography cases would be based on destroyed evidence.  One place such deleted images may reside is in a computer’s cache or temporary memory.

What is a cache?

Sex crime allegations in Michigan are taken very seriously by law enforcement. Due to the specialized nature of these cases many police departments have officers and detectives with in depth training specific to the investigation of sex crime cases. The same is true for lawyers who work with the police departs to prosecute sex crime cases. In fact, many of the larger counties have specific teams of prosecutors who exclusively handle sex crimes cases. For example, the Wayne County Prosecutor has the Sexual Assault Team, and the Oakland County Prosecutor has the Special Victim Section (SVS).

On the west side of Michigan, Kent County does not have a specially named division in the prosecutor’s office, but that office does designate a few attorneys within the office to handle most of the sex crimes cases in the county.

To combat these highly specialized sex crime teams at the various prosecuting attorney’s offices throughout the State of Michigan, the Barone Defense Firm has assembled a team of sex crimes lawyers to go head to head with the prosecutors.

Recently, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency completed a sweep that lead to arrests of 24 people in Michigan convicted of various crimes. It is no secret that the Trump administration has taken a tough stance on immigration. As a result, there has been a focus by the Trump administration on deporting non-citizens with certain kinds of criminal convictions.

What kinds of convictions can lead to deportation?

Federal law says that a non-citizen can be deported for conviction of a “crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony.” A crime of moral turpitude is one that involves a depraved or immoral act, or a violation of the basic duties owed to fellow man, or a “reprehensible act” with a mens rea of at least recklessness. In practice, this means crimes involving fraud, intentional serious injury, intentional death, destruction of property, malicious destruction of property, and intentional permanent taking of valuable property are deportable. This, of course, encompasses many possible crimes.

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