Earlier this month, a Michigan man was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct for the alleged sexual abuse of a then 11-year-old girl. According to one local news report, the alleged abuse took place back in the summer of 2013.
Prosecutors allege that the abuse was continuous over the course of a several-month period. During the man’s bail hearing, the prosecutor asked for a high bail, arguing that the man was a threat to the safety of the community. The judge agreed and set his bail at $500,000.
The man charged with the offense explained to the judge that this is “completely wrong” and that he has not had any contact with the alleged victim since the charges were filed. He claimed that he was neither a flight risk nor a risk to the community, and he asked the judge to reconsider the high-bail request of the prosecutor.
Prosecutors claim to have DNA evidence supporting their assertion that the defendant was the one who committed the crime. If so, this is an unusual case, since DNA evidence is generally rare in criminal cases, even those alleging rape. If convicted, the man faces a potential life sentence.
How Is Bail Determined in Michigan Criminal Cases? It seems beyond question that the man charged with criminal sexual conduct in this case was given an extremely high bail. Under the United States Supreme Court’s rule, a court can only take two things into consideration when setting bail: the safety of the community and the defendant’s likelihood of appearing at trial. Anything that doesn’t go to either of these two factors should not be considered by the court.
The nature of the charges can be considered under the “safety to the community” aspect, but monetary bail should not be set higher than necessary to ensure the defendant’s attendance at future proceedings and to ensure his compliance with the laws.
Here, the prosecution pointed to the fact that they have DNA evidence that the defendant was indeed guilty of the charged offense. While that may be the case, the likelihood of success at trial should not be considered by the judge when setting a defendant’s bail because all defendants enjoy the same presumption of innocence until they are proven otherwise.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help convey your case for a reasonable bail to the judge to help you fight your case from the street.
Have You Been Charged With Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan? Criminal sexual conduct is one of the most serious offenses in the State of Michigan and, in some cases, can be punishable by life imprisonment. Therefore, it is critically important that you discuss your case with a zealous criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to begin the preparation of your case. Attorney Steven Schwartz has years of experience defending the rights of his clients, and he would be happy to speak to you about your case. Call (240) 930-5019 to set up a free initial consultation with attorney Schwartz today.