36-year-old Justin Smith, an officer with the Dearborn Police Department, made news headlines recently for a very family friendly reason. Officer Smith participated in Fandango’s “Christmas Movie My House” competition, covering his house with thousands of Christmas lights. He won a year of movie tickets for himself, his wife and their four children. But now he’s back in the news and this time the reason is not nearly so festive.
Officer Smith was accused of groping a female acquaintance during a traffic stop in May of this year. Although the Dearborn Police Department has not released many details about the alleged sex crime, they do say that they are conducting an internal investigation. The court file has been suppressed at the request of the Prosecutor. As criminal defense attorneys, we are always skeptical when police officers receive special treatment in a criminal investigation.
According to Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad, “The Dearborn Police Department is committed to remaining completely transparent in matters of this nature and we will continue to do that during the course of this investigation.” Smith has been suspended without pay from his position with the police. We don’t actually understand how the term “transparent” and a “suppressed” criminal file fit together.
Smith appeared recently in the 19th District Court. He was arraigned on multiple charges sexual assault charges. He is facing a single count of Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, which is a felony under Michigan law, and is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring. It also requires registration on Michigan’s public sex offender registry. Smith has also been charged with common law criminal offenses.
Smith was granted a $10,000 personal bond, which he has since posted. He appeared in court again last week for a probable cause conference and is scheduled to return to court for his preliminary hearing on Friday, September 9, 2016.
According to our trusted sex crime defense attorneys, there are some very important facts about Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct cases that you should know.
- First, it is important to understand that Second Degree CSC does not involve penetration of the victim in any way. While this makes it a “less serious sex crime” in many people’s eyes, it can also make it harder to defend against.
- Second, know that in many cases the only evidence the jury will hear during a sexual assault trial is the testimony of an alleged victim. These kinds of cases are often “he said/she said” situations where the prosecutor will appeal to the jury’s emotions to get a conviction.
- Third, because the entire case is often built on the testimony of a single witness, there is often no physical evidence to substantiate the allegations. This can be both a blessing and a curse, so to speak, as this means that the case is primarily one person’s word against another. This can make the case harder to fight.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a sex crime, no matter how serious, contact us immediately at 866-766-5245. We’ve been fighting sex crime cases in Michigan for almost a quarter of a century.