Ashley Poe, an 18-year-old Ann Arbor high school student, now faces sentencing on November 7th after pleading no contest to two charges of sexual assault in the 14A-1 District Court in late September. The alleged assaults involved a 12-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. Police described the two alleged victims in news reports as “at risk,” as both had lengthy histories of being runaways.
Poe claimed at her arraignment that she was a student at Ann Arbor Tech High School, however no records could be found indicating that she was a student of the district, according to director of communications for Ann Arbor Public Schools Liz Margolis.
Ann Arbor Police Lt. Robert Pfannes said that the alleged victims of the sexual assaults were local, although he did not release details because of the sensitive nature of the subject and age of the alleged victims. The assaults allegedly occurred on July 14th; Poe’s plea of no contest is not necessarily an admission of guilt, but for sentencing purposes the court does treat it as such.
Three of the original charges against Poe were dismissed after the defense and prosecution struck a plea deal during her arraignment. The charges which were dismissed include accosting a child for immoral purposes, second-degree CSC during the commission of a felony and third-degree CSC involving someone between the ages of 13 and 15.
Typically, an individual will enter a plea of “no contest” for one of two reasons: either the accused cannot recall the incident because of the consumption of drugs or excessive alcohol at the time the offense took place, or because of the potential for the defendant’s statements to be used against him or her should a civil suit be filed for monetary damages.
Ultimately, the prosecutor in this case allowed the teen offender to plead to a five year felony; her defense attorney was also able to bargain, leaving Poe facing a sentence of one year or less in the Washtenaw County Jail.
Certainly, many in the general public will not find the sentence suitable to the offenses committed by the defendant; however, Michigan sex crimes attorneys understand that teenagers make mistakes and often fail to use good judgment. In this case, perhaps an 18-year-old girl’s future and reputation can be saved early on, and a hard lesson learned.
If you have been arrested for a crime which is sex-related, do not make statements or answer questions without a skilled and aggressive Michigan sex crimes lawyer present.