Guidelines, OV 9, Number of Victims Defined

Criminal Law Update

People v Sargent, 481 Mich 346; 750 NW2d 161 (2008)(june'08). Defendant was convicted in Allegan County Circuit Court of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The Defendant was convicted of CSC after he was alleged to have sexually abused a 13-year-old complainant. At trial, the complainant's older sister testified that defendant had also sexually abused her when she was 15 years old. The trial court assessed 10 points for Offense Variable 9 on the basis that there were two victims - the complainant and the complainant's sister - and the court of appeals affirmed. The supreme court, in a unanimous opinion, held that in scoring OV 9, number of victims, the trial court could not consider uncharged acts that did not occur during the same criminal transaction as the sentencing offense. The court reasoned:

"If, as the prosecutor contends, we are not limited to conduct relating to the sentencing offense, every single person that the defendant had ever placed in danger of injury or loss of life would properly be considered for the purposes of OV 9. Instead, when scoring OV 9, only people placed in danger of injury or loss of life when the sentencing offense was committed (or, at the most, during the same criminal transaction) should be considered." Id. at 350.

The case was remanded to the trial court for resentencing.