On Monday July 15, David J. Zuriel Jr. pleaded no contest to three counts of third-degree CSC by force or coercion before Saginaw County Circuit Judge Robert L. Kaczmarek. Zuriel was initially charged by prosecutors with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against someone under the age of 13 in connection with the alleged assault of a young girl from August of 2006 through December 2008 in Saginaw. Prosecutors dropped these charges in exchange for Zuriel’s plea agreement.
In September of 2012 Zuriel attended a preliminary hearing in which prosecutors were successful in securing a ruling that probable cause was demonstrated which meant Zuriel would be tried in Circuit Court. The defendant, who is 33 years old, was jailed without bond at that time.
The original charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against Zuriel carry a maximum penalty of life in prison. Due to the fact that the charges were reduced to third-degree CSC (which also involves penetration), the maximum penalty is 15 years in prison. However, the defendant did acknowledge his status as a second-time habitual offender, which means he could potentially spend 22 1/2 years in prison.
There is no sentence agreement; Zuriel is scheduled for sentencing on August 19 by Judge Kaczmarek.
For most Michigan sex crime lawyers who are truly dedicated, the primary focus is having the charges against their clients dismissed when possible. However, there are circumstances in which it may be advantageous to plead to a lesser charge, particularly when strong evidence exists and a conviction is likely. This can greatly reduce the number of years an individual will spend behind bars.
First and foremost, an experienced attorney desires to protect his client’s legal rights, freedom, and reputation. If you have been accused of any sex-related offense, consult with a qualified Michigan sex crime attorney immediately.