Shelby man sentenced to year in jail for CSC.

October 5, 2020

Burns appears in court via Zoom Monday morning, Oct. 5.

Shelby man sentenced to year in jail for CSC.

#OceanaCountyCrime

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — A 43-year-old Shelby man was sentenced to one year in jail in 27th Circuit Court Monday, Oct. 5, for a conviction of second-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) in connection to the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl.

Daniel Brian Burns, of 2936 E. Baseline Rd., pleaded “no contest” to the charge, July 27.

Sentencing guidelines in the case are 0-17 months, said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon.

The case was set to go to trial in September, but an agreement was reached that spared the child from having go through trial.

Judge Robert D. Springstead ordered five years probation and told Burns, who is free on bond, that he must report to the Oceana County Jail by 4 p.m. today (Oct. 5). Judge Springstead gave Burns credit for two days served in jail.

Burns will have to register as a sex offender and be on electronic monitoring for the rest of his life, said Bizon.

OCP asked Bizon to explain why Burns did not receive a prison sentence.

“In Michigan various offenses are defined by statute,” said Bizon. “The legislature has determined that some offenses need to be punished more than others. In Mr. Burns’ case he was accused of touching a child in the breast area. This is, by definition, criminal sexual conduct — second degree, only because the child was under 13. This is defined by statute as a less serious offense than a case involving penetration of a child of the same age (CSC — first degree).

“Neither myself, nor the court, nor anyone else minimizes the wrong done to this child, but we cannot make up offenses in an ad hoc manner. To do so would violate the principles of the United States Constitution,” said Bizon.

“The sentence a person receives in Michigan is in great part determined by the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines, as published by the Judicial Sentencing Commision. These guidelines take into account the offense and factors involved in the offense.

“In this case, the guidelines called for a sentence of 0-17 months. This is because the defendant had no prior criminal record, and the offense consisted of what it did. While someone outside the system would wonder why not 17 months, in effect, 0-17 months is a lockout cell requiring a jail sentence not to exceed 12 months.

“This case was charged appropriately for the offense, and the defendant pleaded as charged. We were able to get a sentence consistent with the guidelines without having to have the victim testify. This particular victim was able to testify at the preliminary exam, but it was difficult.

“We believe we attained the maximum likely sentence without a trial. If the court had exceeded the 12-month sentence, there existed a possibility for an appeal of that sentence. Such appeals can and have resulted in overturning sentences by the appellate courts. Part of a plea agreement is that a defendant gives up the right to an appeal. After a trial, defendants can appeal their conviction by right. This can and has resulted in the overturning of sentences. Therefore, by obtaining a plea, we have provided the victim and her family with a degree of finality, that they will not have to go through this again and again.

“So the reason Mr. Burns received a jail sentence of one year in jail, is because that is what the law calls for. Prosecutors and judges cannot give sentences that are inconsistent with the law,” said Bizon.

Burns appeared in court via Zoom videoconferencing due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Second-degree CSC is punishable by up 15 years in prison.

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