A Whitehall man received an unusual sentence on Friday, July 13th, after inappropriately touching himself while observing children jump on a trampoline. The man, 58-year-old Gary Lee Erdman, is a registered sex offender and was found to be watching the children from behind a shed near his home on February 9th. According to Whitehall police, several witnesses saw Erdman masturbating while watching a young boy and girl jumping on the trampoline. The judge in the case, Muskegon County 14th Circuit Judge Timothy G. Hicks, sentenced Erdman to “one day to life” in state prison, after determining him a “sexually delinquent person” according to Michigan law.
Judges may sentence individuals who are determined to be sexually delinquent to this unusual term of “one day to life” under a 1950s Michigan law, although the length of the sentence is up to the state parole board and not the judge. Erdman pleaded guilty in March to aggravated indecent exposure as a second time habitual offender. Erdman had a prior conviction in 1999 in Oceana County for criminal sexual conduct (second-degree) with an individual younger than 13 years of age.
Erdman was originally required to pay a $100,000 cash bond at the February 10th arraignment which his attorney, Ronald H. Pannucci, called “obscenely high.” Chief Muskegon County 60th District Judge Harold F. Closz III responded that “obscene might be appropriate under the circumstances.” Pannucci wanted Erdman’s bond lowered so that he could get out of jail; however, Closz felt that the defendant was a danger to the community based on the circumstances of his 1999 conviction.
Having to register as a sex offender can affect all areas of your life, including job opportunities, the ability to obtain a student loan, even loss of your freedom in regards to where you live or attend school. When possible, it is critical that every action is taken to prevent being forced to register.
As aggressive Michigan sex crimes defense attorneys, we understand the complexities of these types of cases, and the skill required to provide those charged with a sex crime the strongest, most effective legal defense. Contact Grabel & Associates today for an immediate consultation.