For eighteen years, I’ve been working with DAs, courts and police in Colorado. I’ve opposed men and women of the Colorado District Attorney offices every day. I reflect on that experience with insight into their motivations.
Recently, I finished a twelve count Aggravated Incest and Sexual Assault on a Child case in Douglas County, Colorado. My client was found NOT GUILTY on all counts. The District Attorney was very nice to work with, but I can’t help suggesting that something was wrong in the prosecution decision. DAs make the decision to file charges based on several factors like: 1) Influence from police, 2) Pressure from alleged victims, 3) Fear of the public.
1. Influence from Police
In this case, two detectives interviewed and kidded around with their “victim”. She flirted with them. They failed to ask any hard questions and pitched her “softball” questions easy for the teenager to answer. They wanted badly to believe her and look good slamming a bad guy “sex offender” (the jury found my client was not a sex offender at all). Cops get their satisfaction and job promotions based on successful convictions. So, when an alleged victim comes along, they tell District Attorneys they want the case prosecuted. If the DA says no, a rift develops with the police, and the police are less likely to give their support to the elected DA in the next election. A positive working relationship between the DA and police is critical to both their interests. After all, they are on the same team and each benefits when a crime is alleged. It is job security to scratch each others’ backs.
2) Pressure from Alleged Victims
Alleged victims can make noise. They can complain to the news media, a Colorado deputy DAs boss or victims’ rights groups. Elected District Attorneys do not like this negative attention. They want to get reelected above all else. If they lose their elected position, an elected DA has failed (and is now unemployed). So, pleasing an alleged victim is paramount. I see DAs ignoring obvious problems with their case (like the one I just tried in Douglas County, Colorado) just to keep an accusor happy. The trial DA will be there arguing hard, despite the clear evidence that the victim is making their story up. The DA wants to be able to say they did their best.
3) Fear of the Public
In Colorado, there is an overall “attitude” toward elected officials. If that attitude is favorable, you get reelected. If not, you lose to your challenger the next election. Keenly aware of this public perception, DAs typically side with the accusor in any situation. It is safer. If a “victim” is making an accusation, there is momentum to filing a case and charging a crime. If you convict, you get headlines which build a positive public perception and you get reelected. If an assistant DA helps her boss get reelected, guess who keeps their job?
If charged with a Colorado crime, you need to remember why your case is moving forward. Everyone in government, from the court clerk to the police, from the jailer to the District Attorney and their staff, benefits from prosecutions.
A Friend to Defend Your Innocence
When charged with a Colorado crime in Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas, Denver, Jefferson or another Colorado county, you need a friend you can trust with your life. Come and meet with us for a free consultation and see if we are worthy of that trust. At the O’Malley Law Office, P.C., our Colorado criminal defense team has been defending the accused against extreme claims like Sexual Assault on a Child and Incest for over 40 years of combined experience. Many of these former clients remain our friends today.
If you or a loved one has been contacted by police, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact a full-time criminal defense lawyer immediately. Call us today for a free consultation at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.