Earlier this month in a Jackson County courthouse, two men were both found guilty of several counts of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. According to a report by MLive.com, the two men face a sentence of life in prison for each of the alleged first-degree felony charges.
Evidently, the charges alleged a multi-year continuous sexual assault of two different girls over a six-year period. The prosecution is not claiming that both men abused the girls each time, but that one man assisted the other in abusing the girls, thus making the non-abusing man guilty only under a theory of conspiracy.
After a seven-day trial, the jury deliberated for five hours before returning a guilty verdict on all charges as they pertain to the alleged conspirator. As for the primary actor, the jury only deliberated for roughly 30 minutes before returning a guilty verdict. When all was said and done, each man was convicted of six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
As is common in these types of cases, the sentencing will occur at a later date. However, each man faces a sentence of life imprisonment for each count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. What they will receive, however, remains to be seen.
Liability Under the Theory of Conspiracy One of the two men found guilty earlier this month was charged under a theory of conspiratorial liability. This theory of liability allows the prosecution to charge someone with an offense that they didn’t actually commit, but assisted someone else in committing.
In order to be found guilty of a conspiracy, however, the prosecution must show that there was some kind of an agreement between the parties. Furthermore, the prosecution must also show that the person accused of conspiracy took some affirmative act towards the conspiracy’s ultimate goal.
Most often, a conspiracy charge is considered as serious as the underlying offense. In other words, if the conspiracy was to commit a misdemeanor, the co-conspirator would be guilty of a misdemeanor. If the conspiracy was to commit a felony, the co-conspirator would be guilty of a felony.
With that said, often the punishment for someone guilty only of conspiracy can be much less severe than the person charged with the commission of the actual act.
Have You Been Charged With a Michigan Criminal Offense? If you have recently been arrested and charged with a serious Michigan criminal offense, such as criminal sexual conduct, you should immediately seek out a dedicated and experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. Attorney Steven Schwartz has many years of experience defending Michiganders against all kinds of serious criminal charges, including those based on conspiratorial liability. Through his diligent and thoughtful approach, he ensures that each of his clients are provided with the representation they deserve. Call (240) 930-5019 today to set up a free consultation with Attorney Schwartz.