First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct NOT GUILTY - Brian J. Prain Wins AGAIN - March, 2019

First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charges in Michigan are some of the most serious criminal charges a person can face. In March, 2019, Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Lawyer Brian J. Prain of PrainLaw, PLLC won A verdict of NOT GUILTY on all counts of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct and Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Oakland County Circuit Court. This victory represents yet another NOT GUILTY verdict in a string of similar Criminal Sexual Conduct ("CSC") trials for attorney Brian J. Prain.

The case involved to minors accusing Brian‘s clients of forcible rape, or "sexual penetration" and "sexual contact" with persons under the age of 13. If Brian‘s client had been convicted of these offenses, he would have spent a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison all the way up to the rest of his life.

In this article, Michigan CSC Defense Attorney Brian J. Prain shares some thoughts on this most recent First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct NOT GUILTY verdict, which follows a string of other verdicts of NOT GUILTY of Michigan CSC charges for his clients.

JB: What were the basics of the case?

BP: My client's former girlfriend had two daughters. When they lived with my client, they were under age 13. It’s a long story, but basically both daughters were accusing my client of sexual penetration and sexual contact. Alleged sexual penetration with a person under age 13 is First Degree CSC under MCL 750.520b, a life offense with a mandatory 25 years in prison if you are convicted (click here to learn more about the Penalty for First Degree CSC in Michigan). Alleged sexual contact with a person under age 13 is Second Degree CSC under MCL 750.520c, a 15 year felony, also with mandatory lifetime tether if you're over 17 - I should have mentioned that first Degree CSC also has mandatory lifetime tether, but it’s hardly worth mentioning when you would be facing 25 to life in Prison anyway. Plus, any sentence you get for First Degree CSC could be served consecutively to the sentence for any of the other counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct he was convicted of. Plain and simple, if the jury found him guilty of any of these counts, the likelihood of ever saying a day outside of Prison was slim to none. Unless…he decided to go to trial with the hopes fo being found Not Guilty.

RELATED: click here to learn about the different Degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan, including Third Degree CSC and Fourth Degree CSC.

JB: So what exactly were the actual charges?

BP: Originally, my client was charged with one Count of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct and another count of Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct regarding one of the two girls. Then, when that case was almost ready for trial, the Prosecution added a bunch of additional charges for the other girl. We had to go all the way back to stage one for the Criminal Sexual Conduct Preliminary Examall over again. We got some of those new CSC charges dismissedat Preliminary Exam - they were dismissed because the evidence didn’t support them. So at the end of the day, we went to trial in the Oakland County Circuit Court on the following charges: Count 1: First Degree CSC; Count 2": Second Degree CSC; Count 3: First Degree CSC; Count 4: Second Degree CSC; and Count 5: Second Degree CSC.

JB: That’s a lot of charges and penalties. Why did your client ultimately decide to go to trial rather than just take a plea deal? Did they offer a plea deal?

BP: They actually did offer a plea deal, which is not always the case - and we were and are very grateful for that. But my client decided to respectfully reject it and opted to go to trial. This man always maintained that he was absolutely innocent of these crimes and couldn’t imagine taking any plea deal, no matter what the consequences may have been if you were falsely convicted. You see, what a lot of people don’t realize is that when they give a plea, even under a "Cobbs agreement," they still have to go in front of a Judge in an open courtroom, raise their right hand, and either plead No Contest and essentially admit by silence to the allegations as stated on paper, or else affirmatively state under oath what they supposedly did - “I touched here," or "I inserted this or that there.“ Even if someone wants to take a plea deal to save themselves from the worst, truly innocent people can obviously have a hard time doing that. Plus, having a plea deal offered that is acceptable is very, very rare.

RELATED: click here to learn about the Criminal Sexual Conduct Court Process in Michigan.

JB:So the day of the trial arrives. Your client has been waiting, I presume, a very long time for this day, but the pressure is on. Can you speak to how you were able to win the trial, specially when two minors are going to take the stand, be very emotional, and claim that these awful things happened? Especially in today’s climate of "me too" - how can these cases be won?

BP: Well, I won't say a whole lot about the case out of respect for my client and the fact that he needs to rebuild his life. A trial is a Chess game, and I'm not going to publish my "moves" for the opposition to see. But I will say that this trial, like every Criminal Sexual Conduct trial, begins with opening up the minds of the jurors to receive the type of arguments we will be making. Every accused person is entitled to have a Jury that can truly presume them innocent under the circumstances and allegations of the case. Then, the rest of the trial comes to down to a) demonstrating that the accusers are lying; and b) offering a motive to falsely accuse. These things are done by offering evidence of motive, which we developed a lot of in this case, as well as by showing inconsistent statements by the accusers. In this particular case, both young accusers had testified in Court previous to the trial and had also made statements to CARE House - child forensic interview centers. This is standard practice on CSC and Child Abuse cases in Michigan. I could go on all day, but suffice it to say that any lawyer defending CSC charges in Michigan has to spend days and days meticulously planning out the cross-examination of the Prosecution witnesses. That's what it really comes down to. Also, we used the services of a Sexual Assault Expert Witness to talk about things like child psychology and suggestibility.

RELATED: Can I be convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct based only on Hearsay?

IF YOU WANT YOUR CASE TO COME OUT THE RIGHT WAY, HERE IS SOME TRUTH TTHAT YOU SHOULD ACCEPT RIGHT NOW: If you or someone you know is being investigated for or charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan, the case is very likely to go to trial. This is because, with the exception of Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, any plea offer you do get is likely to include Prison time. It doesn't matter if you have Johnny Cochran, Jose Baez, F. Lee Bailey (and let's even throw in Perry Mason) defending you. The Prosecution simply doesn't have as much at stake as you do. Any lawyer who offers to take your money while promising a different reality is, frankly, lying to you.

Long story short, if you are facing CSC charges in Michigan, you NEED a trial lawyer. The Prosecutor needs to know that your attorney is capable of going in-front of a Jury, where few lawyers actually go (let alone with regularity), manage all the moving pieces, overcome the odds, and win by bringing the truth forward. Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Attorney Brian J. Prain is that Attorney. Want to know what Brian's clients say about his trial work? Just read the Google reviews for Prain Law, PLLC.

Brian has been selected as one of the Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys by The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys; one of the 21 Best Criminal Defense Lawyers by Expertise.com; one of D Business Magazine's Top Lawyers, 2019, a Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been featured in Hour Detroit Magazine, Super Lawyers Magazine, and much, much more.

If you or someone you care about is facing Michigan CSC charges, call Prain Law, PLLC at (248) 731-4543, click here to contact Prain Law via e-mail using our Contact Form.
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