In November, the Court of Appeals for Livingston County overturned a jury verdict finding Gary Clinton Owens guilty of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The Court of Appeals found the combination of prosecutorial misconduct as well as inadequate defense representation required that the conviction be overturned. A new trial date has now be set.
This case illustrates the need for an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer when facing any type of criminal sexual conduct charge. Where you or someone you know has been convicted of a sex crime, or accepted a plea that seemed unfair, you may be able to appeal the results.
Here, the Michigan Court of Appeals found enough errors committed on both sides to find that Owens was denied justice. The prosecutor improperly questioned Owens about past drug use and made inappropriate comments about his trustworthiness. Prosecutorial misconduct affected Owens’ “substantial rights” by denying him and fair and impartial trial. The errors “seriously affected the fairness, integrity, and public reputation of the judicial proceeding.”
Additionally, the Court found ineffective assistance of counsel. To prove ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must show that the outcome would have been different with a different lawyer. Here, defense counsel failed to object to the improper questioning and failed to call an expert witness to provide testimony abut common traits of adults who sexually abuse children and Owens’ lack of these characteristics.
Fortunately, this conviction was overturned, but not without Owens first having to spend more than two years in jail, and now being subjected to a second potential trial.
As a Michigan sex crimes defense lawyer, I urge you to contact an experienced sex crimes defense attorney if you have been charged with or are under investigation for any sex crime. The attorney you chose may seriously impact the outcome of your case.
For more information, contact Grabel & Associates, a Michigan law firm dedicated to sex crimes defense.