On Monday January 27, 23-year-old Robert E. Thomas of Saginaw Township pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct before Saginaw County Circuit Judge Darnell Jackson. Following a Cobbs hearing, the judge indicated Thomas’s minimum sentence would not exceed six years.
Thomas was initially charged with five counts of first-degree CSC against someone under the age of 13. A conviction for first-degree CSC would have left Thomas facing between 25 years and life in prison. Both first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct involve penetration. Prosecutors dropped the five counts of first-degree CSC in exchange for Thomas’s guilty plea.
Thomas allegedly sexually assaulted a girl who was 12 years old at various locations in Saginaw County from April 1 through the middle of May, according to news reports at Mlive.com. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed not to pursue charges in connection with other possible victims.
Thomas remains in jail without bond; he is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Jackson on March 3.
Third-degree criminal sexual conduct carries a maximum penalty of 15 years. While this is a substantial amount of time, Thomas will still serve far less prison time than he would have had he not pleaded guilty and been convicted by a jury of first-degree CSC, which carries a minimum sentence of 25 years.
Those accused of sexual assault or any related crime must consult with a capable and aggressive Michigan sex crime defense attorney. The criminal justice process is one that is complex; defendants often do not know whether to plead guilty, or maintain their innocence and go forth to trial. Your defense lawyer will work diligently to have the charge dismissed when possible, or seek reduced charges or an acquittal at trial. It is vital that you take the first step toward protecting your reputation and freedom regardless of your innocence or guilt.