Prosecutors have dropped felony charges against a suspect who was implicated in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl and an injury to her 6-year-old sister. Prosecutors refused to pursue felony charges against one of the suspects citing the lack of evidence and the failure of one witness to cooperate. The witness is believed to be a relative of the girls and was in a dispute with one of the suspects. Without this witness’s testimony, the murder trial against at least one suspect will not move forward. Prosecutors also cited a lack of a confession or video evidence as a reason to drop the felony charges.
The outraged police officers threatened to ignore the prosecutors and try the case themselves. But the prosecutor said they would dismiss the case if the police took that route. To avoid a public battle between police and prosecutors, police backed down from their threats. The suspect is now being held on a minor parole violation. However, the felony charges against him related to the shooting are gone.
The State Attorney’s Office issued a statement that said that prosecutors and police are now in accord with the handling of the case. Prosecutors reiterated that there was simply not enough evidence to bring the case to trial. The Chicago Police Department did not issue a comment when asked.
Chicago Police, Prosecutors, and Your Felony Case
If police want to pursue felony charges against a citizen, they must submit their evidence to a felony review panel which reviews all of the evidence and determines whether or not the case is strong enough to bring to trial. A prosecutor can choose to pursue the charges, reject the charges, or mark the file as a continuing investigation. If a prosecutor rejects the charges, the police commander can invoke a “felony override” which never happens. If the felony override were allowed, the police would have the burden of prosecuting the crime directly. However, the State Attorney’s Office indicated they would attempt to block that move. In a bid to avoid a very public fight between police and prosecutors, the police fell in line.
Nonetheless, rising tensions between police and prosecutors have given rise to a situation where police feel as though they have to meet too high of a burden of proof to get charges filed. Meanwhile, the prosecutors contend that they are merely trying to meet the very high standard of proof in criminal court.
In this case, the prosecutors did ask for more evidence, but the officer in charge of the case allegedly balked at the request saying that he was “tired” and did not want to do any more work on this case. With that, the prosecutors dropped the charges causing the police union to rage. Their rage petered out, and now an individual accused of shooting two children will not stand trial for their murder.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If prosecutors agree to pursue charges against you, then you will need a Chicago criminal defense attorney. Call David L. Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.