Satawa Law recently has won another Title IX hearing, as the office for title 9 and institutional equity at University in Western Michigan “unanimously determined that the preponderance of evidence does not support a finding that the responded engaged in sexual assault or sexual harassment.”Read More

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“Self-defense” is a legal term that is common to many of us. We all recognize the term “self-defense” to allow a person to defend themselves. Most people have watched television shows where a person avoids criminal responsibility for hurting another person through the defense of self-defense. However, there is much more to understanding the legal implications and mechanics of self-defense than can be ascertained from a sixty-minute police drama on Tuesday nights. In this blog, I will provide you with a history of self-defense, the mechanics of self-defense, recent developments…Read More

This blog will discuss how evidence of a defendant’s past conduct can be used against him in a subsequent criminal prosecution for any crimes linked to Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault.  This unfair evidentiary rule is a direct reflection of the difficult political climate for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault cases that has existed for several years. This climate has created a statute and court rule that allows prosecutors to win convictions based not on what the accused did this time, but rather on an accused’s prior conduct.  This is…Read More

Polygraphs (also known as “lie detector tests”) are a commonly used, and just as commonly misunderstood, component in the criminal justice system. This article takes a quick look at their use, and seeks to answer some of the many questions surrounding the use of polygraphs. The first thing that should be mentioned about polygraph tests is that they are a test of the body's natural physiological response to being deceptive, or telling a lie. They are not tests of the facts, or of the testing subject’s ability to tell a…Read More

In this blog, I will discuss how the United States Sentencing Guidelines or “USSG” calculates a defendant’s criminal history. In previous blogs, I have concentrated on offense conduct. Now, I will look at the second axis of the Sentencing Table, which is criminal history.  The effect of a defendant’s criminal history can lead to longer sentences under the USSG, or can in some limited circumstances lead to a shorter prison sentence. Other factors affecting a given sentence are possible variance situations. This blog will examine the application of both. Criminal…Read More

In this blog, I will discuss how the United States Sentencing Guidelines, or “USSG”, can affect a defendant’s sentence in two separate types of cases that frequently appear in federal court. The first type of case involves illegal drugs. As society’s views of illegal drugs have changed, so to have the USSG. The number of people using drugs and their growing acceptance have led the USSG to evolve and become a bit more lenient as it relates to certain drug offenses. The second type of case is child pornography. As…Read More

We have previously reviewed how cases are commenced in federal court and discussed the unique laws particular to many of the common federal crimes. Today, we will begin a series of blogs focused on the sentencing process in federal court. Specifically, this blog examines the basics of the United States Sentencing Guidelines or “USSG”. Later blogs will address nuances created within the USSG as it relates to certain offenses, crimes, and criminal histories. This blog will first look at the history and evolution of the USSG, before explaining the mechanics…Read More

I am not an angry person, but my wife and I got into an argument. Now I am facing a charge of Domestic Violence. Will I get any jail time? The numbers related to domestic violence are at an epidemic level. The Michigan State Police report over 91,000 cases of domestic violence in 2017. https://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-1878_1711-10257--,00.html. This had led to a political climate where increasing penalties for Domestic Violence have continued to grow. Defendants face the prosect of going to prison for even a misdemeanor DV charge, This hysteria can be…Read More

I was arrested for child abuse; what punishment will I receive? Every defendant in every situation must ask this question. In the case of child abuse, there are several penalties a person might face, including jail or prison time. In this blog, I will address your question more fully. I will look at the statutory penalties within the child abuse statute, and concentrate on the effect the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines may bring to your situation in calculating your minimum sentence. Child Abuse 1st Degree [MCL 750.136b(2)]. A person is guilty…Read More

I was arrested for drunk driving. Is this a felony? Will I go to jail? These are essential questions to have answered as you evaluate your defense. In most cases, a defendant’s first drunk driving case will be a misdemeanor, which means a maximum sentence of less than a year in jail – most typically less than 93 days. However, if the defendant has a total of three drunk driving convictions in his lifetime, or even if it is a first offense and causes serious injury or death to a…Read More

I have been charged with a sex crime that is not CSC 1st Degree, are my changes better at avoiding prison? Most of the time, the answer is usually “yes”. In 2019, the State of Michigan reported a total of 10,782 sexual assaults resulting in criminal convictions. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/2019_Crime_in_Michigan_Report. Of that number, less than half involve the most serious charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree. This means that CSC 2nd, CSC 3rd, and CSC 4th make up the rest of the sexual assault convictions in Michigan. As we saw with…Read More

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