Malm gets 18-40 years for each count of sex abuse
Circuit Court Judge Thomas G. Power sentenced Cleveland Township resident Dani Malm on Monday to 18 to 40 years in prison for each of three counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct, to be served concurrently.
Before his sentencing Malm, who stood in shackles and the requisite orange jail suit, was asked if he wanted to address the court.
“I have nothing to say,” said Malm, 54.
The victim got a chance to talk to the court before the sentence was handed down. Through tears she read aloud a letter she had written.
“I love you and I always will, no matter what,” the victim read. “ ... All I want is for you to be proud of who I am ... I trusted you and I didn’t want to leave you.”
In the letter, which she had sent to the court earlier, she asked the judge to give Malm a light sentence.
“In spite of what you did I will totally miss you for that long,” though she hopes his time away will make him realize what he did to her, she read.
According to sentencing guidelines, each charge carries a minimum sentence of about 14 to 24 years up to a maximum of life in prison.
“Obviously, I’m not going to honor her request for a short jail sentence,” Power said before giving his sentence, citing that the abuse went on for an extended period of time in the victim’s life.
Power said he wanted Malm to understand that it is Power — not the victim — who is in charge of sentencing.
Malm was convicted on July 25 of three counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct for his abuse of a now 15-year-old child who had been in his care on and off since she was 2 years old. Charges were filed against Malm in May, after allegations of abuse were made by the victim, who was removed from the home and is living in a foster home.
“It’s done,” said Douglas J. Donaldson, chief assistant prosecutor for Leelanau County, who tried the case. “It’s done for him and it’s done for me. I don’t know if it will ever be done for the victim.”
Donaldson said he tries not to place expectations on a sentence, as his job is the conviction and it’s the judge’s job to mete out an appropriate sentence.
“The sentence he gave out was two years less than you would give for second degree murder, so from a standpoint of proportionality, it’s appropriate,” Donaldson said.
William Burdette, Malm’s courtappointed attorney, said Malm plans to appeal the sentence.
“The judge sentenced him within the guideline range,” said Burdette, who said he expected Malm to be sentenced at the upper limit of the guidelines. “There are really no surprises at sentencing.”
Malm will get credit for 107 days served and does not have to pay any fines, attorney costs or restitution due to the lengthy amount of time he will be in prison, Power said. Malm had turned down a plea agreement of one count of CDC, third degree, which has a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.