There are many reasons a prosecutor could drop criminal charges against a defendant. In Baltimore District and Circuit Courts, it seems that a police officer no-show is one of the more common reasons, and one that could be prevented according to many interested parties.
When a police officer is called to testify in a criminal case it is often because he or she investigated the case or played a key role in the suspects apprehension. As an important and credible witness, the prosecution often rests much of their case on what the officer will say.
However, what happens when this potentially crucial witness does not show up for the court date? More often than not, it seems, the prosecution has no choice but to drop the charges without sufficient additional information to move forward.
This report from the Baltimore Sun details this interesting problem that the police and prosecutors offices are dealing with. Several cases are outlined where a suspect may have been convicted and sentenced to prison but ended up walking due to a failure to appear on the part of a police officer.
So, why is this happening? Well, for one, police officers have lives too. Many are reluctant to spend additional hours in a courtroom waiting to be called when they have already pulled a shift or even on their day off. Court dates may also fall on the officer’s vacation or when they have plans to be somewhere else.
In many situations, the case would be continued or rescheduled. That isn’t always possible though and defense attorneys will rightly claim that is is unfair for a dependent to be held in limbo while a key prosecution witness can’t be bothered to show up.
When facing criminal charges in MD, every defendant hopes for a complete dismissal. Although it happens, dismissals due to officer absence aren’t that likely.
But these things absolutely happen. The standards of Justice requires that the prosecution has the burden to prove it’s case beyond a reasonable doubt, and in a reasonable time frame. If they can’t do that for any reason, justice can’t be delayed.
Call our attorneys today and we can take a look at the specifics of your situation and devise a way to handle your legal defense .
A complete dismissal of charges is always a possibility, but an in depth analysis is necessary before we can make any sort of recommendations.