In March of this year, we wrote about a 21-year-old Saginaw Township man who had been charged with sexually assaulting a young female relative. Now, Matthew J. Martinez has pleaded no contest to charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against someone with whom he is related, according to news reports at Mlive.com.
Martinez was originally charged with three counts of first-degree CSC. In exchange for his no contest plea, prosecutors agreed to drop two of the counts. Saginaw County Circuit Judge Robert L. Kaczmarek indicated following a Cobbs hearing that the minimum sentence he would give to Martinez would not exceed nine years. The maximum sentence for first-degree CSC is life in prison; Kaczmarek is scheduled to sentence Martinez on June 9.
Martinez allegedly sexually assaulted the victim between January of 2010 and August of 2013. News articles do not indicate how the victim and Martinez are related.
A Cobbs hearing is essentially a meeting between the judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney in the judge’s chambers whereby the facts of the case and sentencing possibilities are discussed. In this hearing, the judge reviews the positive and negative attributes of a defendant, his/her criminal history, and other details which help the judge determine the sentence that would likely be imposed, and share this decision with the defense lawyer. This helps the defense attorney determine whether he/she should encourage the client to plead to the charges.
While it is not yet known what the maximum sentence for Martinez will be, it is likely that he will not be sentenced to life in prison upon sentencing. In the majority of cases, defendants who plead guilty or no contest to the charges against them face reduced penalties. In other words, the punishment is generally not as harsh when a defendant pleads as it would have been had he/she gone to trial and been found guilty.
Regardless of whether an individual pleads or is found guilty of a sex crime, the repercussions are highly damaging. Not only does punishment include prison time and a criminal record, the accused individual will likely face ruin of his or her reputation and career. For many defendants, the requirement to register as a sex offender for many years or even life is the most damaging of all. If you have been accused of sexual assault, consult with a talented and aggressive Michigan sex crime defense attorney immediately.