Michigan Court Discusses Sentencing Guidelines

In many instances in which a person is accused of committing a sex crime, they will be charged with multiple counts. As such, they may be convicted of numerous crimes, each of which carries their own sentence. Under Michigan law, there are sentencing guidelines that dictate what penalties are appropriate for certain crimes. As clarified in a recent Michigan ruling, however, the courts are permitted to issue sentences that fall outside of the statutory guidelines, and can sentence to multiple prison terms that run consecutively, rather than concurrently. If you are charged with a sex crime, your rights and liberties may be in jeopardy, and it is smart to confer with an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney regarding what defenses you may be able to assert.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant sexually assaulted his minor daughter twice in the same incident or transaction. He was subsequently charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count for each act. Following a trial, a jury issued a guilty verdict. He was then sentenced to thirty to fifty years in prison for each count, with the terms running consecutively. The defendant then appealed.

Sentencing for Michigan Sex Crimes

On appeal, the defendant argued that the judge imposed the sentences under the false impression that he was not violating the sentencing guidelines. The court was not persuaded by the defendant’s reasoning. The court explained that as the mandatory minimum in effect operates as the sentencing guidelines minimum range, any sentence that surpasses the mandatory minimum equates to a sentence outside the guidelines minimum range. As such, the trial court did in fact depart from the guidelines.

The court went on to explain that the sentencing guidelines are discretionary rather than mandatory. However, when a judge imposes a sentence that is outside the upper guideline range, the reasons for doing so must be indicated on the record. While it is true that the judge that issued the sentence in the subject case incorrectly determined that the sentence imposed did not deviate from the guidelines, the error was irrelevant. In other words, because the judge issued the ruling as if the sentence was a departure because he stated compelling reasons for the sentence on the record.

The defendant further claimed that the two consecutive sentences of thirty to fifty years were unjust. The court again disagreed. Specifically, it re-examined the judge’s reasons for the sentence and determined that the penalties were proportional on that basis.

Speak to a Trusted Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Sex crimes can result in significant penalties, as demonstrated in the above-noted case. As such, it is important for anyone charged with a sex crime to hire an attorney adept at handling challenging criminal matters. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is an assertive Michigan criminal defense lawyer who is well-versed in what it takes to achieve a favorable outcome, and if you hire him, he will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach Mr. Bernstein through the form online or by calling (734) 883-9584 to set up a consultation.


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