Original Case Details

A Kalamazoo man was arrested on February 13, 2020 in connection with a bank robbery that occurred in Kalamazoo. The man allegedly went inside the downtown Kalamazoo Chase Bank unarmed and demanded money from a bank employee. He was given an amount of money by that employee and then took off. Surveillance footage was release by the police not long after the robbery. Detectives recognized the man from the footage and tracked him down to a residence and arrested him roughly 24 hours later. According to a federal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, the man admitted to robbing the bank and leaving with about $7,000 in cash. He also told the officer than he had already spent approximately $2,000 at a local strip club. He is facing a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years and/or up to a $250,000 fine. Michigan-High-Court-Considers-the-Term-“Possession-of-Child-Pornography”-Pic-225x300

Where Is The Child Pornography Connection?

What Is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking as defined by the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force is a form of modern-day slavery. It is the containment and forcing of different types of labor of both adults and children. Women that are victims of human trafficking are often forced to work in sex trades like prostitution or strip club work, while men are more forced into jobs involving physical labor. It is a real problem where awareness has recently grown. This awareness has led to more arrests and a stronger dedication towards the goal of eradicating human trafficking. The statistics regarding human trafficking in the state of Michigan are both eye opening and tragic. sad-silhouette-1080946-m

Human Trafficking Statistics

An Oakland County Circuit Court Judge has awarded a judgement of $100,000 to a plaintiff who claimed her ex-boyfriend falsely told her that he secretly recorded sexually explicit videos of her and posted them online. It was never proven that the videos were ever posted, and the Court specifically reasoned that it didn’t matter if the sexually explicit videos were posted or not. It was the threat of posting the videos that resulted in this judgement. In 2014, the state of Michigan enacted what is commonly known as the “Revenge Porn” statute. Revenge porn, also known by its more legalese term, “non-consensual pornography,” generally outlaws people sharing sexually explicit images or videos without the consent of the subject in the images or videos. What is evident here is that the false threat of sharing these types of images or videos can lead to a criminal conviction under the statute and can cost you a boatload of money. Michigan-High-Court-Considers-the-Term-“Possession-of-Child-Pornography”-Pic-225x300

Case History

Back in April of 2018, the defendant in this case allegedly sent text messages to the plaintiff, his ex-girlfriend, telling her that he secretly recorded sexually explicit videos of her and shared them online. He claimed that he took these videos of them having sex while they were together, and he shared the videos online on a pornography website without ever seeking consent. The defendant also told her that the video went viral, being watched hundreds of thousands of times, even being viewed by her co-workers and friends. The plaintiff in this case then sought a personal protection order from the defendant, and ultimately moved out of state in an effort to get away from all of potential social consequences of what had allegedly been posted online. The plaintiff in this case stated that due to the information that this video was posted online she suffered from severe mental anguish, was at one point bed ridden, and also sought professional help in the form of therapy. What makes this case different from others, however, is that no sexually explicit material had ever actually been posted. The plaintiff’s attorney found during his investigation online doing reverse google image searches that the defendant never actually posted anything as he claimed. What they learned was that the defendant simply lied about it in order to cause the plaintiff severe emotional distress, and he succeeded. This discovery obviously led to a change in the legal approach and strategy that the plaintiff’s attorney took. The plaintiff’s attorney then sought to have the legal theory changed to that of an intentional infliction of emotional distress. The defense’s simple argument was that the plaintiff didn’t experience enough emotional distress to rise to the level needed to win a money judgement. The defense then filed a motion for summary judgement asking for a dismissal of the case stating that there was not enough evidence for the case to continue forward to a trial. The Oakland County Circuit Court Judge disagreed, stating that there was an issue of fact that a jury should hear to determine if money damages should be awarded. The defendant’s attorney claimed that shortly after that, he started to lose contact with his client, and ultimately, in November of 2019 which was one week before trial, the defendant’s attorney was allowed to withdraw as counsel because he had allegedly lost contact with his client. When the trial date came and neither the defendant, nor an attorney showed up to defend the case and conduct a trial and default judgement in the amount of $100,000 was entered against the defendant.

What Is The Michigan Sex Offender Registry?

In the state of Michigan, if you are convicted of a sex crime, then you are likely facing some repercussions involving the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. The Michigan Sex Offender Registry Act is a statute that prohibits a few things if you are convicted of a sex crime: cuffs-keys

• Offenders are not allowed to live, work, or even stand within 1,000 feet from a school

The State of North Carolina like Michigan has what’s called a satellite-based monitoring as part of their arm of punishment for repeat sex offenders and other specific offenders. This is essentially a GPS tether that someone must wear every day for the rest of their lives, even if they have completed probation or parole and are not otherwise being supervised by the state. As such, the government has essentially “tagged” someone and will always have their whereabouts available to law enforcement. This tagging becomes automatic in North Carolina once it’s shown that the violator is a repeat offender. iStock_000000341623_Large-2-300x200

How did we even get here?

This issue was made possible when the United States Supreme Court ruled that satellite-based monitoring systems like the one in North Carolina constituted a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The court described the system as attaching an ankle monitor to a person’s body, without consent, for the purpose of tracking that individual’s movements. The court remanded the case and directed the lower court to determine whether the State of North Carolina’s satellite-based monitoring system was reasonable when viewed as a search subject to the protections of the Fourth Amendment.

Watching the news recently I saw that Michigan State University was fined $4.5 Million for failing to protect the victims in the Larry Nassar case and it got me thinking, I wonder what laws may be changed because of this? iStock_000011602905_Large-2-300x200

In June of 2019, the criminal case involving Larry Nassar prompted Michigan House Representatives to pass House Bill 4374. For those of you not familiar with the Larry Nassar case, Larry Nassar was a former sports doctor who was sentenced to a great deal of time in prison for numerous counts of criminal sexual conduct while working for Michigan State University and the United States Gymnastics team. Because of his actions while working for the university, House Bill 4374 was proposed and passed in the Michigan House of Representatives.

This bill amends Michigan Compiled Law (MCL 750.483a) to include “a person shall not use his or her professional position of authority over another person to prevent or attempt to prevent the person from reporting a crime listed in section 136b, 520b, 520c, 520d, 520e, or 520g, that is committed or attempted by another person.” By doing so the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by one year or a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.

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Larry Nassar

Today was a big day in the world of criminal law. A hero to many was convicted of a crime that the media focused on and the story is trending across Facebook and Twitter of Bill Cosby being deemed guilty of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. While many in the #MeToo movement are celebrating a victory, we have to take a step back and analyze just where the future of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) is heading and we have to ask if those accused are facing conviction before the complaint has even been drawn up? We will discuss 3 different situations and break down the concept with commentary and a study of the situation.

I: Bill Cosby

With a verdict of guilty in the Bill Cosby case, legal pundits across the country are faced with a decision of whether the outcome was one that was just or one that was the product of outrage on social media? The Cosby decision leads many to wonder if the famed comedian and actor was a victim of his own fame or someone that truly deserved the punishment that will be dealt out at sentencing. In any event, the Cosby decision is one that is filled with controversy and will have a profound affect the legal community. How the judicial system and social media will continue to co-exist is a matter of pure speculation but one that needs to be addressed and this article will attempt to do so.

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Photo Credit: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

There is no question that the “#MeToo” Movement has left a resounding mark on those in the criminal defense sector and the state of Michigan has come to the forefront with accusations of criminal assault on the rise. To review the Cosby case and to discuss the impact felt across the state of Michigan, we sat down with leaders in the criminal law sector to gather their thoughts on the issue.

In what looked like an impossible hurdle to climb, the law firm of Grabel and Associates shocked the state of Michigan by winning their second decision before the Michigan Supreme Court in less than a 3-week time span when the highest court of the state overturned the “People v. Alexander” decision that was rendered before the Michigan Court of Appeals (People v. Alexander, 2016 WL 5887900 [Red Flagged Michigan Court of Appeals decision]).

The case is one that has garnered an immense amount of controversy on social media and beyond. At trial, a jury found former Michigan State Police Officer Brian Alexander guilty of four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct but after that decision was rendered the defendant filed a motion for a new trial and evidentiary hearing based upon various allegations which included inconsistent testimony that was on the record at the preliminary hearing and new evidence that could’ve changed the outcome of the case. The trial court granted the motion and with it a new trial was ordered. The Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the trial court’s decision and now the Michigan Supreme Court weighed in by overturning the Appellate Court which leaves the legal community to ponder whether or not newly discovered evidence will grant a new trial? Grabel04a-2-300x146

Scott Grabel of Grabel and Associates was the lead counsel for the defense. Grabel spoke of the Supreme Court’s decision and weighed in on the law. Grabel was quoted as saying, “Whenever you are faced with a decision such as this, we have to turn to “People v. Cress” which lays out the elements that have to be proven (People v. Cress,  468 Mich 678, 664 NW2d 174 [2003]). The Cress court provides the blueprint and once that research is completed, it’s time to go to battle. Today, our Supreme Court voted in the favor of protecting the constitutional rights of not only Brian Alexander but anyone faced with similar circumstances and now he has a new chance at freedom. As a criminal defense attorney, the only thing that we can really ask is that our court system preserves the protections of our constitution. Today, I’m proud to say that was accomplished.”

Recently it was reported that Grant Perry, a wide receiver for the University of Michigan football teamiStock_000011098721_Full-2-300x200 from Royal Oak was arrested after allegedly touching a woman in an inappropriate manner as Perry and the woman were in line waiting to enter an East Lansing bar.  The incident reportedly occurred on October 15.  Perry, who is 19 years old, was charged with a single count of underage drinking, two counts of criminal sexual conduct, and one count of assaulting, battering, resisting or obstructing an officer.

December 29th news reports reveal Perry denied that he sexually assault the woman.  The incident took place at a bar and restaurant locating in East Lansing, Lou & Harry’s, where witnesses said Perry and two other men tried to cut in line while approximately 20 or 25 others waited outside of the establishment.  One officer reported that after requesting Perry’s identification, he fumbled through his wallet and attempted to run away before he was apprehended and arrested by another officer.
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