Original Case Details

A Marquette man was convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree for his alleged abuse of his 12-year-old then stepdaughter. The abuse allegedly began about a year after the minor moved from Indiana to Michigan to live with her mother and stepfather (the defendant). The abuse became more frequent and continued until the girl was approximately 15 years old. The defendant subsequently divorced from the girl’s mother and moved on. The girl and her mother moved back to Indiana where the girl told her biological father about the abuse and informed local police, but no investigation resulted. She later confronted the defendant in a Facebook message regarding his sexual abuse. The defendant’s girlfriend saw the message and responded to the young girl asking about the alleged abuse. The girlfriend then contacted the stepdaughter of the defendant’s half-sister about the alleged abuse and learned that the defendant had also had sex with that girl when she was about 14 or 15 years old. The defendant was charged with abusing both girls and the trial court subsequently severed the cases so each case could be tried separately. The trial court, however, allowed “other acts” evidence to come in under Michigan Rules of Evidence (MRE) Rule 403, which resulted in testimony coming in from the other alleged victim at his trial, resulting in a conviction. It is important to note that these offenses were tried some 20 years after the alleged crimes. iStock_000011602905_Large-2-300x200

The Appeal

Original Details

Back in 2011, the Obama administration made a directive demanding universities to improve their policies regarding sexual assault claims on campus. In an effort to empower and encourage victims to come forward in the event of a sexual assault, many changes were required of university policy and procedure in how to handle sexual assault complaints. One major change was to empower a single investigator who is a university employee or outside expert to do all of the interviews regarding everyone involved in a sexual assault complaint. This investigator would interview the accused, the accuser, and any other witnesses. This investigator then compiles the results of these interviews into reports and makes recommendations. This approach led to many complaints saying that the accused is not being afforded due process or a right to cross examine their accuser. Many lawsuits against universities were then filed by both survivors of sexual assault as well as men who were falsely accused. The common theme in these lawsuits is that the universities were not handling these cases properly and were not qualified to lead these types of investigations. An-Attorneys-Guide-to-a-Career-in-Law-Pic-300x200

The Changes Implemented

Original Case Details

A Lansing, MI man was convicted back in November 2018 of sexually assaulting a nine-year-old girl. He was convicted of first degree criminal sexual conduct, second degree criminal sexual conduct, and assault with intent to commit sexual penetration. He was sentenced to a minimum of 72 years in prison by Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who also presided over his jury trial. Prior to the trial, it was agreed that a support person could sit with the child while she testified about what the man allegedly did to her. All non-essential people were not allowed to be in the courtroom while she testified, and her testimony would be broadcast to a closed-circuit TV in another room to satisfy the defendant’s right to a public trial. Judge Aquilina also decided that due to the nature of the case and the girl having previously testified that she was suicidal, only the girl’s voice would be broadcast into the closed-circuit TV next door and not her face, so the judge blocked the cameras. Both the prosecutor and defense attorney objected to this decision, to which the judge overruled them and stated to appeal her if they were not satisfied. Essentially, the judge created an appeal issue for the defense which led to a direct appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Grabel04a-2-300x146

Court Of Appeals Decision

Original Case Details

A former Macomb County Jail doctor was charged with six counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct for trading candy and favors with female inmates for sexual contact. The doctor was accused of giving one female inmate M&M’s and chewing tobacco in exchange for sexual contact. Another female accused him of giving her prescription drugs and an extra mattress for her cell room bed for sexual contact as well. The doctor was accused of using his hands to touch and/or stimulate her pelvic and genital areas during a physical exam. He was also accused of placing his stethoscope on a female’s nipples and breasts and moving his hands into her pants touching her vagina. Another inmate accused him of taking a photo of her with his cellphone after assaulting her, with her shirt lifted and pants partially down. The doctor’s cell phone was seized and searched by the police and it allegedly had sexually explicit pictures and videos on it.

His defense argued that the women conspired against the jail doctor, who was still relatively newly hired at the time. The three women admitted to talking to each other at the Macomb County Jail but denied they ever made a scheme to get the doctor in trouble. He was later acquitted of five of the six charges by a jury. The jury deliberated over the course of two separate days for a total of about six hours. The doctor was later sentenced to one year in St. Clair County Jail, where he is currently still serving his sentence. iStock_000022895015_Full-2-300x200

A federal court has made a ruling which will temporarily suspend a prior order that would have invalidated Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA). The pandemic has made it virtually impossible for lawmaker to convene to actually be able to make changes and rewrite the invalidated laws surrounding SORA. The pandemic has also brought a lot of confusion surrounding any type of real enforcement as the police are also dealing with their own issues related to COVID-19. This judge’s ruling makes clear that the registry cannot be enforced during this pandemic. iStock_000000341623_Large-2-300x200

Original Problems With SORA

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland issued a decision that invalidates parts of the Michigan Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA). His ruling has stated that parts of SORA are actually unconstitutional and must be rewritten. This dealt, in part, with requirements that people on the registry were not allowed to work or live less than 1,000 feet from where children gather and play. This among other rules were added in 2006 and 2011 and subsequently applied retroactively to people already on the registry. The judge also ruled that several provisions of SORA are void due to vagueness, strict liability issues, and under the First Amendment. This ruling affects some 44,000 people that are currently on the registry. This is a fight that has been raging on since the same Judge making a similar ruling back in 2015. The state legislature has been pushed to rewrite SORA legislation so it can fall back under constitutional rules, but they still have not done so. With the current pandemic, it does not look like these changes will be taking place anytime soon.

A plastic surgeon out of Toledo, OH with an office in Taylor, MI has been indicted with illegally dispensing controlled substances, aggravated sexual abuse, and sex trafficking. He is accused of drugging multiple women, raping them and recording the acts on camera. He was arrested by the FBI and has been booked at the Lucas County Corrections Center. The doctor is licensed in both Michigan and Ohio and has three offices between both states. His case now goes before a federal grand jury as he has waived his preliminary hearing. He will remain in custody pending his appearance before the federal grand jury. He did not challenge his detention on this court date. stethoscope-1-1080174-m

Original Case Details

The original accusation against this doctor came from a woman who shared that she worked as a high-end escort and engaged in sexual activity for money with the doctor. This event allegedly took place at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Los Angeles back in September of 2016. She alleged that she first performed consensual oral sex on the doctor before dinner but would not allow it to be recorded. After the dinner, she believed she was drugged, raped and recorded without her consent. The woman left the hotel room in the morning and sought the help of a client who was an anesthesiologist who found that the woman tested positive for benzodiazepine in her urine. This drug is a type of tranquilizer. Other women have since made similar accusations against the doctor. The FBI obtained a search warrant and found five thumb drives that allegedly contained 5 different videos of the doctor engaging in sex acts with four different women, who were all unconscious. The FBI also seized large amounts of controlled substances from the doctor which included valium, fentanyl and morphine. The doctor had also received a shipment of ketamine two weeks prior to the first alleged incident. The Assistant United States Attorney handling this case stated in court that they believe they have found over 20 different victims recorded on different devices.

In the era of the “MeToo” Movement and with the fear of COVID-19 spreading, we see that charges of rape (CSC) are on the rise in the state of Michigan. There are several reasons for the upswing in these charges. Overzealous prosecutions, the nuance of delayed reporting, more victims come forward, and an array of other issues all played a vital role in the amount of CSC allegations. One point that has been overlooked is Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). hand-cuffs-300x199

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a type of behavior disorder. It is mostly diagnosed in childhood. Children with ODD are uncooperative, rebellious, and hostile toward peers, parents, teachers, and other authority figures. They are more troubling to others than they are to themselves. ODD is typically diagnosed around early elementary school ages and stops being diagnosed around adolescence. Kids who have ODD have a well-established pattern of behavior problems. Symptoms include:

• Being unusually angry and irritable

The University of Michigan-Dearborn Police Department is under fire for an alleged cover up involving the reporting of a sexual assault on campus recently. This allegation involves a student claiming that she was sexually assaulted by her instructor in his office in the science faculty building on the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus. It is alleged that the proper protocol was not followed in investigating this case by not taking the alleged victim’s statement and not interviewing the instructor under normal conditions where the police would be able to record the statement with both audio and video. It is not currently known how much the lawsuit is seeking in damages, but it is likely to be a large number. The possibility also remains that the instructor could still be criminally charged if the police and prosecutor’s office come up with enough evidence. Media coverage like this may change the prosecutor’s position on this case. iStock_000023802012_XXXLarge-2-300x200

Original Case Details

University of Michigan-Dearborn police officer William Ashford is the plaintiff in this case. He was suspended allegedly because he was trying to uncover the truth relating to a sexual assault case involving a teacher and student on campus. His lawsuit claims that “he exposed the fact that they intentionally refused to act on the incident and attempted to cover up this wrongdoing.” A University of Michigan-Dearborn student underwent a rape test kit at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti. She claimed that her instructor forced her to perform oral sex on him and subsequently raised her grade after she did as evidenced by an email that allegedly said “the next time you want to work on your grade, you know what we can do.” It is alleged in the suit that her grade was raised from a ‘D’ to a ‘B’ after the assault. It is also alleged that the instructor actually admitted to committing this act but was allowed to resign without any violations and now has found employment at another university.

Original Case Details

A Kalamazoo man was arrested on February 13, 2020 in connection with a bank robbery that occurred in Kalamazoo. The man allegedly went inside the downtown Kalamazoo Chase Bank unarmed and demanded money from a bank employee. He was given an amount of money by that employee and then took off. Surveillance footage was release by the police not long after the robbery. Detectives recognized the man from the footage and tracked him down to a residence and arrested him roughly 24 hours later. According to a federal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, the man admitted to robbing the bank and leaving with about $7,000 in cash. He also told the officer than he had already spent approximately $2,000 at a local strip club. He is facing a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years and/or up to a $250,000 fine. Michigan-High-Court-Considers-the-Term-“Possession-of-Child-Pornography”-Pic-225x300

Where Is The Child Pornography Connection?

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland issued a decision that invalidates parts of the Michigan Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA). His ruling has stated that parts of SORA are actually unconstitutional and must be rewritten. This ruling affects some 44,000 people that are currently on the registry. This is a fight that has been raging on since the same Judge making a similar ruling back in 2015. The state legislature has been pushed to rewrite SORA legislation so it can fall back under constitutional rules, but as of this writing they have not done so. iStock_000000341623_Large-2-300x200

What Parts Were Declared Unconstitutional?

Most of the issues relating to SORA have to do with the residency exclusions that people on the registry face. These restrictions are overbroad and vague. Other areas that have been ruled unconstitutional deal with requirements related to registration, restrictions on loitering, and reporting and registration requirements. The judge stated that the court recognizes that his ruling will “fracture” the existing structure of SORA. One of the biggest claims against SORA is that many of the requirements in SORA have been changed and retroactively applied to everyone on the registry after the fact, in effect further punishing those who have already been punished for their crimes.

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