Morikawa takes plea deal

By NIKKI YOUNK

Staff Writer

CRYSTAL FALLS – A former Michigan State Police trooper who won an appeal last year on his 2011 criminal sexual conduct conviction has decided to accept a plea deal instead of move forward with a new trial.

David Morikawa, 40, had been scheduled for a four-day retrial to begin next week.

The Michigan Court of Appeals had granted Morikawa the retrial after it determined that he had ineffective assistance of counsel during his original 2011 trial.

During a hearing Tuesday in Iron County Trial Court, Morikawa’s defense attorney Elizabeth LaCosse informed Judge C. Joseph Schwedler that she and special prosecutor Lauryl Scott of the Michigan Attorney General’s office had reached an agreement, and that there would be no need for the retrial.

“It’s a global resolution to benefit everyone involved, including the taxpayers,” said LaCosse.

Pursuant to the plea agreement, Morikawa pleaded no contest to a new felony count of attempted second degree child abuse. The two original felony counts of criminal sexual conduct-second degree were dismissed.

LaCosse added that the agreement stipulates that Morikawa will no longer have to register as a sex offender, will receive credit for the prison time he has already served, and will not be subject to any further incarceration, probation, or fines.

Morikawa had already completed his original sentence of one year and eight months in prison when the court of appeals granted him the retrial.

Judge Schwedler set sentencing in the matter for May 27.

Morikawa, who now lives in South Dakota, announced his intention to waive his right to attend the sentencing hearing in person. Judge Schwedler allowed the waiver, as long as Morikawa can appear through some type of videoconference system.

In the original trial, Morikawa had been found guilty of inappropriately touching a 12-year-old girl at his home in Crystal Falls. He was employed as a trooper at the now-closed Michigan State Police post in Iron River at the time of the offense.

Both Morikawa and the victim attended Tuesday’s hearing in person.

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is nyounk@ironmountaindailynews.com.