2017-08-03 / Courts

Bailey’s conviction and sentence length upheld by Appeal’s Court

By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff


DEREK BAILEY is shown at his trial held in Leelanau County. DEREK BAILEY is shown at his trial held in Leelanau County. The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld sentences imposed on Derek J. Bailey in May 2016 for two convictions of criminal sexual conduct, second degree.

Those sentences of 10 to 15 years for each conviction fell outside of sentencing guidelines, Bailey claimed.

The appeals court found otherwise and affirmed the sentence handed down by Circuit Court Judge Philip E. Rodgers Jr., who has since retired.

Bailey, 44, also appealed two rulings made by Rodgers during the trial and claimed prosecutorial misconduct for Leelanau County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Doug Donaldson’s attack on his credibility.

A jury in November 2016 found Bailey guilty on two counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct for his sexually assaulting a young girl who lived in his home.

The girl was the older of two victims who lived in his home.

“I’m pleased for the victims that another chapter is closed,” Donaldson said.

Bailey is also serving two sentences of 25-50 years on convictions of first degree CSC for the younger victim. Those convictions were from Grand Traverse County and are also being appealed, with findings still pending, Donaldson said.

Bailey is serving his time at the Saginaw Correctional Facility. His earliest release date is May 2040, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections website.

All of Bailey’s sentences are being served concurrently.

Bailey appealed the Leelanau County convictions based on two rulings made by Rodgers during trial disallowing cross examination by Bailey’s attorney.

According to an opinion by the Court of Appeals, the testimony that would have been given was irrelevant and so was correctly deemed inadmissible by Rodgers.

Another argument made by Bailey claimed that Donaldson engaged in misconduct when he vouched for the credibility of the victims and their mother and that he attacked Bailey’s credibility.

The three-member appeals court panel found that Donaldson’s remarks were not improper, as he was responding to Bailey’s attorney Craig Elhart’s attack on prosecution witnesses.

Donaldson did characterize Bailey as lying when Bailey denied the allegations of abuse, the panel found, “ ... but this is implicit in the prosecution itself.”

Bailey also challenged the scoring of offense variables that were used to come up with the sentence and claimed that Rodgers took an upward departure from sentencing guidelines.

Michigan’s guidelines for CSC second degree specify that a conviction may be punishable by up to 15 years in prisons.

But the panel’s opinion says that a trial court can depart from the guidelines in either direction if those guidelines do not account for factors considered at sentencing.

Factors considered by Rodgers included “lack of candor,” “lack of admission,” “lack of remorse,” and “lack of empathy for the victims.” Rodgers also described Bailey as narcissistic, self-centered and unable to “answer a simple question without going on and on about himself.”

Bailey also did not acknowledge the behavior of which he was convicted, the opinion said.

Bailey, a former tribal leader, was arrested in May 2015 after the younger victim reported to a school social worker that she was being abused by Bailey. The girl, who was 15 at the time, reported the abuse had been going on for about seven years.

The abuse took place in Leelanau, where they lived, and in Traverse City, where Bailey had rented an apartment while making a bid for a seat in Congress.

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