In June of this year, we posted a story regarding the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl at the Robin Glen Mobile Home Community where she lived. The defendant, 18-year-old Tyler D. Hardy, was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct causing personal injury, and third-degree criminal sexual conduct against someone ages 13 through 15.
Hardy, who allegedly raped the girl in the mobile home neighborhood where they both lived, recently pleaded guilty to the lesser third-degree charge; in exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to drop the first-degree CSC charge. Hardy waived his June preliminary hearing in the case, which is when details of a possible plea agreement were first discussed.
According to a news article at Mlive.com, Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Barnes offered Hardy the plea deal so that the alleged victim could be spared the difficulty of testifying. She went on to say that a lack of or weakness in the evidence was not grounds for the plea agreement. While there is no sentencing agreement, Barnes will argue at Hardy’s October 1 sentencing hearing that Saginaw County Circuit Judge Janet M. Boes consider sentencing the defendant at the “high end” of state sentencing guidelines, which could leave Hardy facing two years to three years and four months in prison.
Had Hardy been tried on first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges, he would have faced up to life in prison if convicted. Third-degree CSC carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Michigan sex crime attorneys realize that in some cases, agreeing to a plea deal is advantageous to the accused, such as in the case above. However, there are situations in which innocent people are accused of sex offenses they did not commit. Whether you should accept a plea agreement or proceed forward to trial is an issue that must be decided upon by the defendant and his/her attorney.
Whatever the situation, it is always advised that any person accused of rape, sexual assault, child molestation, or other related offense speak with a seasoned Michigan sex crime defense lawyer immediately.