A Felony Menacing case in Jefferson County, Colorado, we handled was recently dismissed. It was filed by police after a disgruntled debtor accused our client of threatening him with a firearm. Without any proof, police bought the whole story hook, line and sinker, and arrested our client. We are convinced that the man making the accusations made them in hopes of not having to pay the remainder of what he owed to our client.
The frustrating part about this is that ANYONE can make an accusation in Lakewood, Arvada, Brighton or Wesminster, of most any type, and police feel obligated, or are incentivized, to file the case. In this instance, we know that a financial motive was at the root of the accusation. But what is in it for police to charge people when no physical evidence exists that a crime occurred?
The Future Blame Concern
Police are first concerned that if they don't believe someone about a menacing or other crime, something provable might happen in the future and they would be blamed for not helping their "victim" in the first instance. Mrs. B. says Mr. B. threatened to hurt her, and police do nothing because there is no proof. Mr. B. later kills Mrs. B. The public is outraged and the Chief of Police is fired. It is safer to just charge everyone. Social Services has the same principle: it is safer to file a Colorado Dependency and Neglect case so they are never accused of doing nothing - even if no evidence of child abuse exists.
The Statistics Game
Police and many government agencies like Social Services in Denver, Arvada and Aurora keep statistics on how many calls they respond to and how many arrests they make. A case is "cleared by arrest" when someone is caught and charged. Future funding for the agency is based on their statistics. A successful statistic means more funding for more officers. Social Services gets more funding if they handle more child abuse cases: hence, they investigate and charge everything from spankings to children with bad attitudes. It is to their benefit to involve themselves in the lives of Coloradoans whenever possible.
A Better Way?
I know of a police department in Colorado which won't file Sexual Assault on a Child charges unless there is some physical evidence. I'll bet this infuriates child advocates and social services. Yet, it is the right way to do police work. If there is a significant chance an innocent person may be convicted, or that the District Attorney can't prove their case at trial, why file the case? Why require a man to defend against charges which will ruin his life and cost the government thousands of dollars. I have seen dozens of angry step daughters or young women accusing a man of sexual assault years after the fact with zero evidence. Lives are destroyed and children are given the power to send someone to jail with just an accusation: no physical evidence needed in Jefferson or Arapahoe County. Physical evidence should be required for every prosecution, otherwise the he said - she said - game of accusations empowers everyone with a desire for revenge and fills our jails and prisons with innocent people.
If you have been accused of a crime or contacted by police, be smart, exercise your right to remail silent, and call us at 303-731-0719 today. Together, with our 20 years experience, we can protect your future.