Another NOT GUILTY Verdict for CSC Lawyer Brian J. Prain on First Degree CSC Charges

Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree charges CAN be beaten with the right amount of tireless effort, dedication, knowledge and trial experience.  In late November, 2017, Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Attorney Brian J. Prain earned another NOT GUILTY verdict after a highly contested and emotional trial, securing the complete acquittal for his client on all counts of First Degree CSC and Second Degree CSC in the Wayne County Circuit Court – Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.
In this article, we sit down with Metro Detroit Criminal Defense Attorney Brian J. Prain while he fills us in on some of the details of his recent victory and shares how some of the same principles can be used to help you beat your Criminal Sexual Conduct charges.

JB: Who is your client and what were the charges against him or her?

BJP: “I can tell you that my client was charged with multiple counts of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct and Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct for alleged sexual penetration and sexual contact with a minor under age 13.  However, while I could tell you who the client is because it’s public information, I’d rather not because this person has become a good friend of mine now, and I respect the fact that they have a life and a reputation to rebuild.

JB: I can understand that.  Could you tell us what possible penalty your client would have faced if they were convicted?

BJP: “Certainly.  The penalty for Criminal Sexual Conduct – First Degree (Person Under 13, Defendant 17 Years of Age or Older) under MCL 750.520b is “mprisonment for life or any term of years, but not less than 25 years,” plus mandatory “lifetime electronic monitoring,” all with consecutive sentencing and lifetime Sex Offender Registration (SORA) for each individual charge.  The penalty for Criminal Sexual Conduct – Second Degree (Person Under 13, Defendant 17 Years or Age or Older) under MCL 750.520c is “imprisonment for not more than 15 years” plus “lifetime electronic monitoring.

JB:Umm…could you put that in plain English, please?

BJP: “Ha ha, yes, gladly.  All that jargon means that if my client were convicted, they would have gone to Prison for AT LEAST 25 years (mandatory), and possibly for the rest of their life.  The sentence for each individual charge or “count” they faced would only begin to be served when the other one finished.  In other words, they would likely die in Prison even if they lived to be 100.  And on the rare chance they ever did get out, they’d be on a tether and on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry for the rest of their life.  It’s more serious than a murder case.  And by the way…if there’s any chance of ever getting Parole, you’ll only get it if you ‘admit what you (allegedly) did.’

JB: So you were under a lot of pressure, I take it?

BJP: “Yes, immensely!  But as a result, it was immensely motivating.  That tension and anxiety is the space where I live and where I perform.  I’ve gotten used to it.

JB: How do you overcome, well, this idea that everyone seems to have that there is no defense to Criminal Sexual Conduct, or Sexual Assault or Rape charges or whatever you want to call them – this idea that once you’re accused and the State has decided to pick-up the charges, you’re “screwed.”

BJP: “Well, first of all, even a lot of Criminal Defense Lawyers believe that.  And if your own lawyer – the guy or gal who you’re trusting to defend your life against these allegations – believes this, then you probably are screwed.  But luckily not all of us think that.  Some of us have far more hope than that.  Now, in order to overcome that, it all begins with re-focusing the Jury right from the very start.  The Jury must be re-focused on the idea of innocence, false accusations, and wrongful convictions, because when you’re dealing with CSC / Sexual Assault claims, that’s exactly what happens when things go wrong.

And if anyone thinks this sounds manipulative or deceptive – it’s absolutely not.  Having a Jury committed to absolute innocence from the very start is precisely the Constitutional right that our founding fathers created for each and every one of us should we find ourselves accused of a crime – it’s called the Presumption of Innocence, and it’s not trickery in any way – it’s the law!  The problem is, we Americans live in a culture today where we are so ready to presume guilt at the mere hint of an accusation that anything that suggests that a person might be innocent and falsely accused, or that the government should actually have to prove its case is seen as deceptive.

It’s really very sad.  But then we all hear about these guys getting out of Prison after 25 years after being wrongfully convicted of Sexual Assault and we say “Oh my God, that’s terrible!  How could that happen?”  We think those are the rare cases.  They’re not – it’s common, and that’s really scary…”

JB: But what if they have DNA evidence or an expert witness for the Prosecution?

BJP: “Well, there’s no doubting that DNA evidence and expert witnesses make it more likely that a person will be convicted of CSC.  But it’s just like anything else, and the Defense needs to rise to the challenge.  When it comes to DNA evidence, many people don’t know that the analyst from the “lab” (the Michigan State Police, Forensic Science Division, Biology Unit Laboratory) will claim that something is a “match” when it truly isn’t a match.  It’s often just their conclusion based on statistics with no actual, proven match in terms of the genetic markers tested.  This is a situation where the Defense may need to hire its own DNA expert to look at the same data and come to a completely different conclusion (or explain the weaknesses n the government’s faulty conclusion.  We had a Criminal Sexual Conduct case just like that earlier this year which was another huge win for PrainLaw.

RELATED: Click here to read about Michigan’s tougher new DNA laws.

JB: Did you have a DNA expert in this particular case where you got the Not Guilty?

BJP: “No, we didn’t need a DNA expert in this case, but we did have an expert in Sexual Assault with a background in clinical and forensic psychology who testified for us and helped to educate the Jury on how memory works, the impact of outside influences on the alleged victim, and some major red flags that the Jury should consider when evaluating the claims of this accuser.  Additionally, we were able to file Motions and gain access to the alleged victim’s counseling and therapy records which proved that this was in-fact a very troubled and maladjusted person whose allegations should be taken with extreme caution.  Another big issue was the statements the alleged victim had made to a forensic interviewer during the CSC child forensic interviewing process.

JB: How long does a Criminal Sexual Conduct trial in Michigan like this take?

BJP: “About 1-2 weeks, depending on the number of witnesses and the complexity of the issues.  it could take even longer.  These are exhausting days and you work all through the night reframing things and getting ready for the next day, no matter how much you prepare in advance.  If you’ve been to college and have experienced “crunch time” for finals week, that’s the best analogy I can think of.

JB: All right, we’ve only got about 4 minutes left.  Tell us about what it’s like to wait for the verdict, to hear the verdict, and just how you feel now about the whole case in general.

BJP: “Waiting for the verdict is super stressful.  I can’t imagine what it’s like for the Defendant himself.  I can only speak as the lawyer.  Even when you know you’ve done everything you can and that you’ve won, there’s still a deep anxiety.  Every minute is like an hour, every hour is like a day.  Eventually, there’s a knock at the door and the Deputy/Bailiff says “They have a verdict.”  Then they have to call everyone to the Courtroom.  It feels like it takes forever and the whole verdict reading process is super formal and feels really dragged-out.  Jump to the moment when the foreperson reads the verdict…

My heart is racing at light speed – it could almost explode.  But then…relief.  Complete and total relief.  Not happiness or celebration like if it were a small trial or a Misdemeanor charge.  Just pure relief and thankfulness.  You’d think you’d want to go have a drink to celebrate, but it’s not like that at all.  My client goes home with me, instead of being taken away in chains, and you realize “that’s it.”  That’s really it.  There’s no big afterglow.  One moment you could be going to Prison for the rest of your life, the next minute you’re walking out the front door of the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice into freedom.  It’s just all suddenly over like a bad dream.

JB: Where is your client now?

BJP: “At home with family, celebrating Christmas and just…celebrating life and family in general, I suppose.”

JB: Okay, well get some rest and take care.

BJP: “You as well.  Happy Holidays to you and yours, and to all the readers.

JB: One thing before we split – let’s say someone knows someone facing a CSC charge in Michigan and looking for a Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Lawyer.  How can they reach you and get your help as their lawyer?

BJP: “There are many ways to reach us.

Call our PrainLaw, PLLC office at (844) CRIM-HELP, which is (844) 274-6435.  Call my cell anytime at (248) 763-0641.

Text me at that number if you want.  If I can’t answer, leave me a text or message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able.  Or, you can even email me at brian@prainlaw.com.  When this page is published, maybe the web guys they can also put in one of those email Contact Forms that we have on some of our pages.  Just make sure to mention that you or someone you are helping is facing CSC charges in Michigan and is looking for a lawyer.  Please note that we don’t do anything with old cases (appeals, SORA Removal Petitions, etc.) – we only handle current CSC matters that are either in Court or where a person is being investigated but hasn’t been formally charged yet – we try to stop them from ever being charged at all if we can.

 

 

24
Dec
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