If you have been falsely charged with a sex offense, then it is helpful to understand the role of law enforcement. The same is true of the prosecuting attorney and criminal defense lawyer.
All sexual offenses operate with the same laws and rules. This is true for any degree of criminal sexual conduct. It is also to whether you are facing false accusations or the allegations are true.
A prosecutor must use evidence that is deemed admissible by the Judge. Your sex offender criminal defense lawyer has an absolute right to see all evidence before the case proceeds to trial. Part of the defense strategy will be to keep the jury from seeing the evidence.
Due to the attorney client relationship some evidence you’ve provided may not be admissible in court. Be sure to tell your lawyer everything. Especially if you have been falsely accused of a sex crime.
Also, be sure to disclose any use of force or coercion. Also the facts behind any sexual penetration or sexual intercourse. Being complete might mean avoiding years in prison.
Your Michigan sex crimes lawyer can get all the evidence the prosecutor has through discovery. This based on Michigan Court Rule 6.201. This rule indicates what the prosecutor must disclose to the defense and what’s prohibited. The prosecutor must update all and information provided to the defense.
From this you can know why hiring an attorney early in the process of a sex crimes case is important.
What is Mandatory Discovery in a Michigan Sex Crimes Case?
Discovery is a word used for all the information known to the prosecutor. But not all information must be provided to the criminal defense lawyer. Some disclosure is mandatory.
Mandatory disclosure is the information that must be provided to the Defense. This information includes names and addresses of the lay witnesses, or the witnesses that do not have a specialty or expertise. These would include the common person who may be called as a witness at a trial.
To know where all this information comes from you can read How do the Police Investigate a Rape Charge in Michigan?
The prosecutor’s witness list must also include any expert witnesses. An expert witness is someone who has been qualified by the court to provide opinion testimony. If an expert witness is listed, their curriculum vitae (resume or list of training, education, and accomplishments) must be provided.
Similarly, even the lay witnesses’ history may apply, for example, any prior criminal convictions must be provided. Along with witness information the prosecutor must provide access to inspect any tangible or physical evidence.
The ability to see, touch, and inspect can be a significant part of defense of a case. Often the most significant pieces of evidence are the recorded statements and interviews of the witnesses. These include those of the investigators, and the alleged victim known as the complainant.
In a Michigan sex crime case, this would include video, audio, or transcribed or written statements of each witness. In cases involving minors this would also include the Forensic Interview. Witness interviews are often visually recorded.
This is significant, as you begin to first evaluate how the individual talks, looks, acts, reacts. For criminal defense lawyers the words are important but so is the assessment of the way these words are said.
Your experienced sex crime lawyer is going to evaluate and learn what was volunteered information and what was wrongfully obtained.
What Information is Known to the Prosecutor?
The entire case file is available and known to the prosecutor. Most of this information must be provided to your criminal defense lawyer. This information includes the Police Report. This report may contain details about whether you were in a position of authority.
Also, whether physical force or threat of force was used in the alleged sexual abuse. It may also indicate whether there was penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth.
Also, the police reports may include if you were in possession of child pornography. This is especially if the person filing the charges is underage.
Your criminal defense attorney will make request for all of this information, but often will be provided as a professional courtesy. Information helpful to the defense must also be provided.
Other regularly obtained documents will include an affidavit, a warrant, and the return, which is documentation of what was actually seized. In a Michigan sex crime case, this would often include electronic data.
Computers, phones, tablets, and other digital devices are commonly seized in order to search for evidence that supports the allegations.
The Michigan Sex Crimes Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm will want as much information as possible. This would minimally include the above information, that which is obtained through the discovery process. The thoroughness of discovery is significant and plays a major role in the defense of the case.
However, another crucial area in establishing the defense strategy is in keeping some of the unsavory details out of evidence. Your defense lawyer may also try to get so called “prohibited discovery” into evidence.
What is Prohibited Discovery in a Michigan Sex Crimes Case?
Prohibited means that the prosecutor has made a claim that the defense has no right to the information. It could be considered protected or privileged. This could be based upon our constitution, law, or any privileges that exist.
Evidence of sexual history including levels of sexual desire of the complaining witness are also not admissible. This is due to the rape shield laws in Michigan. This rule also covers Michigan’s statutory rape law.
In Michigan sex crime cases, a medical record, and a doctor’s involvement before or after the alleged assaults, may be crucial. In addition to the medical aspect, is the involvement of sexual assault therapist or a psychiatrist or psychologist.
The utmost importance should be placed on protecting privileges. In some cases the information is more important than the privilege. If so, the defendant’s lawyer will be allowed to use it to defend against the charges.
How will a Defense Attorney Obtain Access to Privileged Information?
The person with the privilege may waive it, or the information may be submitted willingly. In other cases, a motion must be filed to request that the privilege be lifted for a specific purpose.
Privilege can therefore be waived by the holder. It can also be lifted by the Court on a successful motion. A person’s actions or conduct can also waive privilege.
Sometimes your defense lawyer will file a motion regarding privilege. They might argue that the information is necessary. Other arguments might be that the information is would be material or is expected to significantly impact the case. This is known as “Stanaway” Motion.
Pursuant to this method, the judge may perform an in camera review of the material. This is a review by the judge only. In their motion your lawyer must show that there’s a good chance that the records contain information material to your defense.
This cannot be a fishing expedition. The request for information must be carefully and specifically crafted, as demanded by case law and legislative history. Obtaining all the available information in your case is a big step in a long journey. It’s important to hire a lawyer that will not to misstep during this journey.
Steps to Take Now to Avoid Prison and Registering as a Sex Offender
Facing a criminal charge in the State of Michigan is a frightening experience. When you are charged with sex crimes, it is imperative that you make the phone call. Don’t delay in hiring a sex crimes lawyer. Even if you’ve been assigned a public defender.
A sexual conduct allegation requires specialized knowledge. You choice of lawyer is more important then most who are accused of a crime.
Fight false allegations by seeking out the experienced, compassionate, and vigorous Michigan Sex Crimes Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm.
You may also avoid the sex offender registry for many offenses involving allegations of unlawful sexual contact.
Please contact our office for a consultation how we may protect you or loved one’s rights and freedom.