Michigan Court Discusses the Offense of Using a Computer to Commit a Crime

The Michigan legislature takes great measures to protect children from physical or sexual abuse and staunchly prosecutes people involved in sex crimes against children. For example, under Michigan law, a person may be convicted of a sex crime even if they have no physical interaction with the minor victim. This was illustrated in a recent Michigan case in which the court affirmed a defendant’s conviction for using a computer to commit a crime based on evidence that he attempted to submit the victim’s mother to commit illicit acts against the victim. If you are charged with committing a sex crime, it is smart to meet with a Michigan criminal defense lawyer to examine what arguments you may be able to assert in your defense.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant engaged in a video chat with the victim, who was fourteen, and her mother. During the conversation, the defendant expressed that he had a sexual dream about the victim and that he had previously engaged in sexual activity with a mother and daughter. At some point after that, the victim asked her mother to rub her stomach, but her mother rubbed near her breasts and underwear. The defendant later met the victim and her mother in a hotel room and engaged in sexual intercourse with the mother. He was later charged with numerous offenses, including using a computer to commit a crime. He was convicted, after which he appealed.

Using a Computer to Commit a Crime

Under Michigan law, in order to convict a defendant of using a computer to commit a crime, the prosecution must show that the defendant used a computer or a computer program, system, or network, to either commit, conspire or attempt to commit, or solicit another person to commit a crime. A person can be convicted of this offense regardless of whether they are convicted of committing, attempting, or conspiring to commit or soliciting another party to commit the underlying offense.

In the subject case, the underlying offense for the charge was producing child sexually abusive activity, which the court noted was defined as a child engaging in an enumerated sexual act, which included fondling. In the subject case, the defendant argued that there was no evidence that he arranged for sexually abusive activity involving a child, or prepared, attempted, or conspired to arrange such activity. The appellate court disagreed, noting that a rational factfinder could determine that the solicited the victim’s mother to commit the underlying offense of child sexually abusive activity. Thus, it affirmed his conviction.

Speak to a Trusted Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

A conviction for a sex crime can irreparably harm a person’s rights and reputation. If you are charged with a sex offense, it is prudent to speak to an attorney about your options for seeking a favorable outcome. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a trusted Michigan criminal defense lawyer with the skills and experience needed to help you protect your interests, and if you hire him, he will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact Mr. Bernstein through the form online or by calling (734) 883-9584 to set up a meeting.





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