Possibly the most difficult area of law revolves around accusations of domestic violence and abuse. It’s impossible to condone domestic violence, but at the same time individuals accused of such behavior are entitled to a defense.
Where in civil cases the burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence, in criminal matters the prosecuting attorney is required to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Many object to such a stringent standard, but to require less could mean placing innocent people in jail.
In one case where domestic violence was alleged, charges against a deputy sheriff were dismissed. For whatever reason, his wife decided changed her original version of the story, and her mother refused to go to court to testify. The prosecuting attorney was left with no case to bring against the alleged perpetrator.
The deputy spent approximately 30 hours in jail before being released. The woman’s mother sent a number of e-mails stating she did not recall what occurred on that evening. This occurred at just about the same time that the woman herself changed her story concerning the incident.
The deputy sheriff claimed the incident leading to his arrest was only a verbal argument, and that no physical abuse had taken place. It’s possible that no one other than the parties will ever know for sure what occurred.
Whether it’s in Colorado or any other state, the duty of a criminal attorney is not to help individuals escape criminal penalties. Instead, it’s their duty to find out what occurred, prevent false accusations from being levied against suspects, and to make sure that no one is convicted without reliable evidence and credible testimony.
Source: The Bellingham Herald, “Domestic violence case against sheriff’s deputy dismissed,” by Kristin M Kraemer, Oct. 13, 2012