Mateen Cleaves – Do Dismissed Charges Mean The End of This Case?

The sexual assault charges against Mateen Cleaves have been dismissed.


Mateen Cleaves, the former NBA player, was accused back in March of this year of sexually assaulting a 24-year-old woman. According to the alleged victim, the assault took place in at a Mundy Township motel after a charity golf outing in September of 2015. Cleeves, however, denied that the encounter was anything but consensual.


According to the Wayne County prosecutor’s office, Cleaves met the alleged victim and her boyfriend at the charity event on September 14th. After the event, a group of people present for the event went out to a bar together, where they shared a few drinks. At about 1 a.m. they left the bar. At that time, the boyfriend of the woman who claims to be the victim gave another friend a ride home, while Cleaves gave the woman a ride.


The accuser says that she rode with him, thinking that they would be returning to the golf club. But that was apparently not the case. Cleaves is said to have taken the alleged victim to a motel, where he is accused of holding her against her will and sexually assaulting her. In the woman’s testimony, she claims that she was finally able to escape from the room, at which point someone in a nearby room helped her.


Charges were brought, including unlawful imprisonment, assault with intent to commit criminal sexual penetration, second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Cleaves, originally from Flint, hired an experienced criminal defense attorney and then, like a model client, refused to discuss the case with anyone.


If only all clients were as silent as Cleaves during their sexual assault cases!


The case was a long, drawn-out affair, during which time the case was handed over from one county prosecutor to another. Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton was originally assigned the case, but chose to recuse himself from prosecuting Cleaves due to a possible conflict of interest. In addressing his reasons, Leyton explained that his family “has a relationship with a witness.” For this reason, he was reluctant to be involved. “I sought an opinion from the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan. Its executive director recommended recusal, as did my management team.” The case finally ended up being assigned to Wayne County.


In addition to the change in prosecutors, the evidence in the case came under scrutiny. The police officer who interviewed Cleaves’ alleged victim admitted in open court that he had written up the report about five days after conducting the interview, at which time he was recalling the facts entirely from memory and not from notes or a recording.


After a lengthy preliminary hearing, which dragged out over the course of several weeks, Genesee District Court Judge Cathy Dowd decided that she wasn’t satisfied with the probable cause evidence presented by the prosecutor’s office. As a result, she chose not to bind Cleaves over for trial, and instead dismissed the charges. For Cleaves and his loved ones, this must be wonderful news. Hopefully, this signals the end of this awful saga that has done a great deal of damage to his career and good name. We wish him well in the future.


However, for those of you who are at the very beginning of your story when it comes to fighting false allegations of sexual assault, we are here for you. The sex crime defense attorneys at the Kronzek Firm have decades of combined experience fighting accusations of rape, assault, and criminal sexual conduct. If you have been charged with a sex crime, please contact us immediately at 866-766-5245. We can help you during this difficult time.


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