Michigan CSC Case: Pleadings and Motions
There are several motions that a defense attorney can file in a CSC case in Michigan. Some motions come before trial, such as motions to compel evidence or suppress evidence, and other motions come during or after trial.
Pre Trial Motions in a CSC Case
Pre-trial motions to suppress evidence are used to exclude evidence that may have been obtained by the police in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. Some searches of people or places, arrest of the suspect, and interrogation of the defendant may have been in violation of the Constitution. For example, if the police searched an area without probable cause or a warrant, everything from that search may be excluded from evidence.
Other pre-trial motions may include a request for change of venue and motions in limine. A defense attorney may ask the judge to change the venue of the trial if the case has received excessive pre-trial publicity in the media. A change of venue may be necessary in order to ensure that the defendant receives a fair trial free from jury members who have been influenced by the press. Motions in limine that are relevant to criminal sexual conduct cases include a motion to prohibit the presence of a support person at trial and a motion to prohibit the use of the term “victim.” In certain circumstances, victims (especially younger victims) may be allowed to use support persons while they testify at trial. The use of these special persons may be prejudicial against the defendant. Likewise, the prosecutor’s use of the term “victim” throughout the trial may be prejudicial, harming the defendant’s case.
Motions Filed during a CSC Trial
During a trial, a defense attorney may file a motion for directed verdict of acquittal. This motion is filed after the prosecutor has rested its case-in-chief, including direct examination of its own witnesses, but before the defendant presents any part of his case. The court must direct a verdict of acquittal on any charged offense if the court believes the prosecution has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. After a guilty jury verdict, the defendant may file an original or renewed motion for directed verdict of acquittal.
Motions Files after a CSC Trial
After trial, a defense attorney may file a motion for a new trial. Pursuant to Michigan Criminal Procedure Rule 6.431, the court may order a new trial on any ground that would “support appellate reversal of the conviction or because it believes that the verdict has resulted in a miscarriage of justice.” The “miscarriage of justice” standard is a high burden for defendants to meet; therefore, this motion is rarely granted.
Finally, a defense attorney may file a motion for relief from judgment. This motion is filed after all appeals have been exhausted. The motion must specify all of the grounds for relief which are available to the defendant and of which the defendant has, or by the exercise of due diligence, should have knowledge. Common issues raised in this type of motion include improper sentencing enhancements and improper sentencing grid calculations.
If you have questions about any stage of a sex crimes case involving you or a loved one, call our office at 1-800-883-2138 or use the Contact Us form for a free consultation. We are available 24/7 to take your call.