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Posted on Tue, Mar 2, 2010 : 7:50 p.m.

Prosecutors expected to dismiss case against Matthew Freeman

By Lee Higgins

Washtenaw County prosecutors are expected to dismiss a criminal charge against a Pittsfield Township sex offender after a judge granted a motion today filed by the man’s attorney.

Matthew Freeman, 23, is charged with a school safety zone residency violation that accuses him of living within 1,000 feet of Carpenter Elementary School.

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Matthew Freeman said he's relieved by the judge's ruling.

Investigators said it was illegal for him to live that close to a school because he was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving force or coercion in 2003.

With few exceptions, registered sex offenders aren't permitted to live near schools.

In 2003, Freeman admitted in court he had sex with his girlfriend when he was 17 and she was 15. In Michigan, the legal age of consent is 16.

This afternoon, 22nd Circuit Judge Donald Shelton granted a “motion to correct the record” filed by Freeman’s attorney, David Goldstein.

As a result, the record will be corrected to reflect Freeman was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct (age of victim) - not fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving force or coercion.

Goldstein discovered errors were made by reviewing records, including a VHS tape of Freeman’s July 29, 2003 plea hearing.

During that hearing, then Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Lenore Ferber used an incorrect Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council code for the statute to which Freeman would be pleading, records show.

Now that the conviction is accurate, Freeman is exempt from the school safety zone residency restriction that applies to many sex offenders. He still must register as a sex offender until Aug. 17, 2028. But prosecutors are expected to dismiss the recent charge no later than Freeman’s next court appearance March 12 in front of 14A District Judge J. Cedric Simpson, Goldstein said.

“They have no legal ground to stand on,” Goldstein said.

Prosecutors will not appeal Shelton’s ruling, Chief Deputy Assistant Prosecutor Steve Hiller said today.

Freeman expressed relief this afternoon. He said he has feared going to jail since a state trooper visited his house in August and measured its distance from the school building with a laser. At the time, Freeman was living with his mother and five younger siblings on Dalton Avenue in Pittsfield Township. He was required to move while the case is pending.

“It’s terrible,” he said. “I don’t like it. I had to move for nothing. It was stressful.”

Freeman was originally assigned a public defender because he couldn't afford a private attorney. But Goldstein agreed to take the case and worked out a payment plan with Freeman.

Freeman said he's pleased Goldstein straightened it out. A school safety zone residency violation is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

“I’m grateful with the whole situation,” Freeman said. "I’m just glad they finally got it right. I’m glad they got it fixed. If they didn’t, I’d be going to jail.”

Freeman’s mother, Yolanda, said she's satisfied with the judge’s decision - but isn't happy Freeman must continue to register as a sex offender.

“I’m glad it’s not gonna be a problem with him living near a school or park,” she said. “I wish they could take him completely off the registry. But I guess we can accept this.”

Evelyn Scott, the mother of Freeman’s ex-girlfriend, originally pressed charges in the case. She filed a complaint with Pittsfield Township police 12 days after Freeman’s 17th birthday, requesting he be criminally charged. As a single working mother, she said it was the only way she could think of to end the relationship.

Scott said today she's also pleased with the decision, but still wants Freeman removed from the registry.

"They should just let it go," she said. "They should just leave him alone. My daughter was a willing participant. To continue to punish him for some childish mistakes is wrong."

Lee Higgins is a reporter at He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at



Sat, Mar 6, 2010 : 8:26 a.m.

HELP! There must be at least someone other than myself that really understands the interpretation of these statutes. It doesn't really matter about the sex registration statute if Freeman was never guilty of the primary charge of having a sexual relationship with a girl less than 5 years older than himself when he was 15, 16 and perhaps during the 12 days after he turned 17. Most states have these Romeo/Juliot statutes to lower the age of consent for close in age teens. Even though it is said the age of consent is 16 --- the age of consent in reality is lower. In South Carolina it is 14, in Michigan it is 13. Please get a someone with a high IQ (maybe a college professor) to come on this website and post his/her opinion. Note: I do not trust lawyers, judges and such because they are trained to lie and sidestep reality to win their cases. Maybe someone from Mensa with a mathematics degree will respond.


Fri, Mar 5, 2010 : 9:58 p.m.

The quotes below are from the above article. The question is did Freeman have sex with the girl during the 5 days after he turned 17? What does the indictment say about this? More likely he was 16 when all this sex took place, not 17. "In 2003, Freeman admitted in court he had sex with his girlfriend when he was 17 and she was 15. In Michigan, the legal age of consent is 16. Evelyn Scott, the mother of Freemans ex-girlfriend, originally pressed charges in the case. She filed a complaint with Pittsfield Township police 12 days after Freemans 17th birthday, requesting he be criminally charged. As a single working mother, she said it was the only way she could think of to end the relationship" He was not more than the element of being more than 5 years older than the girl either!


Fri, Mar 5, 2010 : 11:04 a.m.

This whole case is crazy to me, the original charges never have warranted what has happened to this young man and the things that continue to follow his life.Let's look at the original charges the Mother waited until he turned 17 so he could be charged as an adult when she knew her daughter was willingly have sex with him while he was 16. Mother wanted the relationship to end, so she turned him into the police, it is clear the mother was angry and not thinking how much damage would follow this young man. Now to those of you pointing fingers, how many of you married as virgins? even if it is not against the law in Michigan, it is certainly against God's law to have premarital sex, so should you all be damned to HELL even if you repent of your past sins? No God forgives and forgets and so should we, when no real crime has taken place.


Thu, Mar 4, 2010 : 11:48 p.m.

Is there a process to clear this young mans name? It seems like a huge injustice has taken place. He should not have to be burdened with this on his record. This record could impact his options for future employment. The mother of the girl retracted her complaint and recognized the act as consensual. It makes me question the integrity of the data in the sex offender registry. As a mother of a small child I find this beyond disturbing. I truly hope this is not a pervasive problem.


Thu, Mar 4, 2010 : 12:48 a.m.

I understand you Yankees won the Civil War to save the negroes from slavery, but why are you'all having such a hard time understanding words and mathematics which would free this negro boy? [Yes, I live in the South.] This boy never committed a crime in the first place, yet the prosecutor is trying to save face by saying he pled guilty to the wrong statute but is somehow guilty of another statute. This gets everyone focused on the sex registration statute instead of the real mistake! Maybe there's an IQ above 100 minded Yankee up there who will respond to my assertion that Freeman did not commit a crime, period, at all, notta! The statute then and now reads the same. If the actor is not more than 5 years older than a 15 year old they can have all the sex they want, and I'm talking about penetration ---not just touching, fondling and kissing. THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT) Act 328 of 1931 750.520e Criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree; misdemeanor. Sec. 520e. (1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree if he or she engages in sexual contact with another person and if any of the following circumstances exist: (a) That other person is at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age, and the actor is 5 or more years older than that other person.


Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 10:02 p.m.

EyeHeartA2 you question if this situation had a profound effect on Matthews life. Because of this mistake he had to move out of his home and was threatend with a year in jail. That would certainly have a profound effect on my life. Wolverine3660 when he moved into the house he registered with Pittsfield Twp Police just like he was supposed to. He tried to follow the law.


Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 9:47 p.m.

This is a law that sorely needs changing. This boy did what many normal boys do at the age he was when he was charged. If teenagers are going to be charged as predators for having sex with their girlfriends or boyfriends, we are a sorry excuse for a civilization. That he has had to go through any of this is a disgrace.


Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 9:05 p.m.

Zulu- I ma a person of color, so, please dont try to pull th e"race card" here. Yolanda, I understand you are a single mom and all, but, that still does not nullify the facts- that your son did something he shouldnt have. Now why are y'all hollering cuz he has to face the consequences? Hopefully th eProsecutor will reverse the situation, and matthew will get his name cleared. Question is- wil he stay out of trouble?


Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 6:02 p.m.

I am so glad that the mistake was corrected and the young man does not have to worry about going to jail for living near a school. Is there a way the public (those who share this opinion) can write a letter to the courts or to the governor to have him removed from the sex offender registry?

Atticus F.

Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 5:01 p.m.

Kudos to the prosecuter involved. Often prosecuters dont want to admit a mistake, even at the expense of an innocent person in jail.


Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 3:38 p.m.

EyeHeartA2: I can understand how you cannot understand how "the mistake" have had a profound effect of Matthew's life.

Sandra Samons

Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

This is not enough. The record needs to be corrected.

Yolanda Freeman

Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 11:51 a.m.

@Wolverine3660 thank you for your comment but it is individuals like you that is so negative and ignorant about situation dealing with young people that make mistakes in their lives. I don't want to make this into a racial comment, and I hope that just because this is a black male you think has been in and out of jail because I would like to inform you Wolverine3660 that is the only time my son have ever got into trouble that small window the ages 17 to 18, when he was a teenager. So no one get confused I did not sweep my sons problems under the rug or did I blame anyone else for the things he did I handled things best way I could being a single mother and I believe I did what any other parent would have done. So I thank all of the people that supported my sons situation and I thank all of the negative people too this just show me there is closed minded and ignorant people still out here in the world that still want to use the race card.


Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 11:36 a.m.

Zulu - Wolverine's post actually was based on past instances. His point is that between his sex crime conviction and the present, this individual has gotten into additional trouble. I sensed some racist undertones in your post that I don't think are warranted. ANYONE who commits a crime pays the price. That being said, I think this is a perfect example of why these laws need reform. The real travisty for this young man is that he even had to be involved with The System on this incident involving where he was living. Being involved with The System is often much more painful that even the punishment. Ineffective and ineffecient government and its complacent workers is a punishment I wish upon no one!


Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 11:16 a.m.

@Wolverine3660: Your sense of justice seems to be predicated on this young man's future behavior and not on the injustice that has been done to him. Your attitude is a perfect example of why their is such a disparity in the incarceration of blacks in the criminal justice system. Prosecutorial and judicial decisions are often made on what is perceived as their future behavior so the idea is to remove them from society before they commit another crime. Whether this young man commits another crime or not isn't the issue. We should all be concerned about the error that occurred in Judge Shelton Courtroom that is and will continue to have a profound effect on this young man's lifeoutcomes.


Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 9:11 a.m.

Not to worry- he may get off the sex offender registry, but, Ibet he will be back in jail in no time. See, he hasnt managed to keep his record clean after the whole sex-offender situation.


Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 7:24 a.m.

He is still guilty of the primary offense and will have to register based on the statute at the time. It is the subsequent offense, living within 1,000 feet of a chool that he is not guilty of. Perhaps Granholm could give him a pardon. Clearly, this is a situation where it is warranted.


Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 7:01 a.m.

Wow. Did his then-girlfriend's mom realize how badly she was going to ruin his life? (Clearly, he paid no attention to his actions, either)


Wed, Mar 3, 2010 : 3:40 a.m.

AMEN,to every word stated before me,but he needs to be removed from the registry....NOW!!


Tue, Mar 2, 2010 : 11:06 p.m.

I am a very conservative person however it looks like justice is being served correctly in this case. I agree with all the above statements.


Tue, Mar 2, 2010 : 10:52 p.m.

This young man should have his name cleared. Is there no process for him to appeal? This is insane! How can this injustice exist? Is this a pervasive problem? Why is the system not amended?


Tue, Mar 2, 2010 : 9:20 p.m.

The wheels of justice only move fast on a 1 hour tv show.


Tue, Mar 2, 2010 : 9:07 p.m.

I have to agree with you this time scooter dog. Mr Freeman is one step closer to living his namesake.

scooter dog

Tue, Mar 2, 2010 : 8:18 p.m.

Its about time,never have I seen so much foot draging by all parties involved