Michigan Court Upholds Sex Offense Conviction Over Defendant’s Sufficiency Challenge

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Michigan sexual assault case requiring the court to determine if the prosecution presented sufficient evidence to sustain the defendant’s conviction. Ultimately, the court determined that the evidence was sufficient, and affirmed the defendant’s convictions and sentences.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the defendant’s niece’s friend asked for a ride from Ann Arbor to Chicago. The defendant agreed. On the way, the defendant asked the young woman if she would have sex with him at a hotel. She declined each time he asked.

Eventually, the defendant stopped the car at a hotel. When the defendant got out of the car, the woman locked the door. When the defendant returned, he pulled her hair through the window, and the woman pulled out a knife, cutting the defendant’s hand. The defendant retreated to the hotel room, leaving the woman in the car.

Later, the woman went to the hotel room to use the bathroom. When she entered, the defendant allegedly lunged at her, and the two got into a scuffle. The woman claimed that the defendant took off his belt, held her down, licked her breasts, and tried to rape her. After screaming for help, the people in the neighboring hotel room called management, who called police.

No witnesses saw any of the alleged assault. However, various witnesses described the condition of the defendant and the young woman as though they had just been in a fight. Additionally, the hotel room was disheveled, there was blood on the sheets, and the woman’s clothes had blood on them. The defendant was arrested and charged with criminal sexual conduct and related charges.

At trial, the defendant was convicted. He appealed, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to find him guilty of the crimes charged.

On appeal, the court affirmed the defendant’s convictions. Regarding the specific subsection of criminal sexual conduct charged, the court explained that a person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct if they 1.) engage in sexual contact with another person and 2.) cause personal injury to the victim and force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual contact.

The court explained that “sexual contact” can be any touching that is “reasonably construed” as being for the purpose of sexual gratification. Here, the court held that licking the woman’s breasts, hitting her with his belt, and tearing at her clothes, were all potentially done for sexual gratification. That being the case, the court found that there was sufficient evidence for the criminal sexual conduct charge.

Have You Been Arrested for a Sexual Offense?

If you have recently been arrested for a Michigan sex crime, contact Michigan Defense Law for immediate assistance. Sexual assault cases are extremely serious, and deserve serious representation. Attorney Paul J. Tafelski is a veteran criminal defense attorney with extensive experience handling the most challenging cases, including sexual assault crimes. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call Attorney Tafelski today, at 248-451-2200.

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