James W. Gunn, a Saginaw man convicted on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in October of 2011, will not get a new trial according to news reports. Gunn was convicted by a jury in Saginaw County Circuit Court on October 12 of forcing a woman at a convenience store to drive to a school parking lot on Saginaw’s west side where he forced her to perform a sex act. He was also accused of kidnapping, but was acquitted of the charge.
A news report at Mlive.com claims that the victim was unable to identify the defendant until she came across his picture in Mugshot Magazine. The alleged incident occurred on August 1 of 2008 when the then 31-year-old woman went to the store to purchase beer, and was allegedly grabbed by the neck and forced back into her car by Gunn. The woman testified that after performing the sex act, an SUV arrived at the parking lot and the defendant then left her vehicle and sat in the SUV, which eventually left.
Gunn stated during his testimony that the alleged victim approached him while he was with two friends, asking Gunn if he knew where she could purchase crack cocaine. He alleged that after giving her directions to a crack house, she requested that Gunn drive her to the location in her vehicle. Gunn also testified that after driving to the school, he called the drug dealer repeatedly, but got no answer. He also said that the alleged victim was the one who suggested sex, and that he did not strike her as she had accused him of.
Gunn and his attorney, George C. Bush, appealed the conviction due to inconsistencies in the woman’s story, and the fact that the judge in the case would not allow the officer to be recalled to the stand regarding those inconsistencies. Gunn’s lawyer said that the woman lacked credibility because she could not recall whether her intentions in going to the convenience store was to purchase beer, or flirt with the store clerk.
Ultimately, the appeals court judges determined that the reason the victim went to the convenience store was irrelevant, and that those particular details did not apply to the sexual assault directly.
The earliest possible date for Gunn’s release from the Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee is June 16, 2029.
Michigan criminal appeals attorneys understand that there are instances in which legal errors are made, leading to the conviction of innocent people. In other cases an individual may receive a harsher sentence than what is usual for the crime he or she is accused of committing.
If you believe you have grounds to appeal your conviction, consult with an experienced Michigan post-conviction defense lawyer who will review your case to determine whether an appeal would be suitable in your situation.