Supreme Court Justice Cautions Criminal Sexual Conduct Accusers

Woman Testifying

Accused of Sexual Misconduct?

As a Metro Detroit criminal defense attorney, I concentrate a majority of my energy on defending those accused of Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct crimes, called CSC for short. One of the problems we encounter at Prain Law, PLLC has to do with the mindset of the general public - as soon as someone points their finger at someone else and cries Rape or Sexual Assault, people immediately start calling them a "victim" and treating them as if they are, indeed, a real victim. Why is this a problem?

This is a major problem because apparently, Americans have forgotten about the presumption of innocence. If a person accused of Criminal Sexual Conduct is supposedly presumed to be innocent unless and until every element of whatever Michigan Degrees of CSC they're caused of are proven beyond a reasonable doubt in Court, tow can the accuser be a "victim." Have we forgotten about the Innocence Project and all of the stories we hear every day on the news about some poor guy rotting for 25 years in Prison for CSC, only to find out later that it was a wrongful conviction because the accuser lied, the government hid evidence, new DNA evidence, or because they "failed" some unreliable Polygraph?

This may surprise many people, but many Michigan Sexual Assault cases are based entirely on what people often call hearsay with no corroborating DNA or evidence at all. As I spend each day defending those accused of Sexual Misconduct in Court, I hear Prosecutors and even Judges referring to the accuser as "the victim" before anything has ever been proven. It really offends me when it happens in my own case, especially since I represent innocent people who I know will be found NOT GUILTY when I present the truth to a Jury at trial.

In a case called People v. Stanaway, the Michigan Supreme Court actually said that for Judges and Prosecutors to call the accuser a "victim" unless and until a crime has been proven is wrong. And I often wonder, did it ever occur to anyone that this mentality in the public of simply believing the accuser is a "victim" just because he or she says "he touched me" or "he raped me" is a major part of the reason we have so many wrongful Sexual Assault convictions?

Well, I was happy when I recently read that someone has recognized that fact. And it's not just anyone I'm talking about - recently there was an article online that quoted Canadian Supreme Court Justice Beverly McLachlin on sex assault cases, where she says that no one has the right to a particular verdict. Justice McLachllin is right on-point: the only expectation anyone should have coming into a Sexual Assault trial in criminal court is the expectation of a fair trial. And we can't get that fair trial if we are presuming people to be guilty and presuming accusers to be "victims" instead of presuming the accused to be innocent. To have someone at the level of a Supreme Court Justice identify the problem and state this publicly is, in my opinion, a very positive and reassuring thing.

RELATED: click here to have a CSC Defense Lawyer answer the most common Criminal Sexual Conduct Frequently Asked Questions

Am I saying that every accuser is lying? Am I denying that Criminal Sexual Conduct occurs? Not at all. I am simply suggesting that when we resist the natural urge to just believe someone because, after all, we think "who would lie about something so big ?, " we are actually following the presumption on innocence and the law. Remember, it was the Nazis who said that if you tell a lie big enough and maintain it long enough, people are more likely to believe it.

We all know there are endless reasons why anyone, even someone we know and love, could be falsely accused of Criminal Sexual Conduct: attention, revenge, money, mental illness, personal conflict, tainted memory, and sometimes even reasons we can't identify. If we fail to change our mentality as a society, we're going to keep putting people in Prison for CSC crimes they are innocent of. So let's not wait until it hits too close to home before we're willing to do something about it.

If you or someone you know is facing Criminal Sexual Conduct charges in Michigan, it is essential to have the best Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Attorney they can find on their side. CSC charges are not like other criminal cases - there are many subtleties and unique aspects that make defending Sex Crimes a special category of Criminal Defense. Not every Criminal Defense Attorney is aware of these factors.

If you or someone you know needs a lawyer for criminal sexual conduct, contact Attorney Brian J. Prain personally at (248) 731-4543


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Prain Law, PLLC is focused only on the types charges featured on our website. This helps us deliver the decisive, effective advocacy for which our clients know us. We only serve individuals currently under investigation or who have a current case pending in court. Our firm does not represent injury victims, defendants who have already taken a plea or have been sentenced, or those seeking to expunge a criminal record. We do not respond to anyone who is not involved in a pending investigation or who has a court case for a type of charge we do not handle, but we wish you the very best of luck.