Rights of the Accused: Why the Court of Public Opinion Should Stay Closed
Impartial juries are hard to come by, due in part to the 24-hour media news cycle. Information is instantly accessible by millions, and opinions form rapidly. For those accused of committing so-called “star” offenses, including sex crimes, the high profile nature of the charges may diminish one of the most basic rights guaranteed to every citizen in this country – the presumption of innocence. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney could make all the difference.
Pennsylvania Abduction Charge Leads to Indictment
A grand jury indicted 19-year-old Christina Regusters this week on a slew of charges that include rape and kidnapping in connection with the January abduction of a five-year-old girl. According to Philly.com, Regusters is alleged to have signed the girl out from her classroom while posing as her mother. Authorities found the girl 18 hours in a park about a mile from the school. She reportedly told her rescuer, “I’ve been stolen.” Court documents indicated the girl was sexually assaulted at some point after her kidnapping.
Regusters, who is incarcerated in lieu of $4 million, was threatened and assaulted by inmates while housed in the Philadelphia prison system. Authorities have moved her a facility in Northampton County. She continues to state her innocence.
Why We Use the Word ‘Alleged’
This woman’s reported assault and harassment as a prisoner is symptomatic of a larger judgment culture we deal with everyday in the United States. The rush to make headlines and garner viewer attention may lead media outlets to rush to post without all the facts. We saw it repeatedly in CNN’s coverage of the bombing at the Boston Marathon and police pursuit of the two suspects. We see it here again with Regusters, a 19-year-old young woman who is innocent under the law until proven guilty.
A fine line exists between the desire for justice and the will of the mob. It’s the prosecutor’s job to represent the people’s desire for that justice, just as it’s the job of defense attorneys to see that system does not punish the innocent. To ensure the accused receive the fair trial entitled to them under the law, counsel has a number of strategies at their disposal:
• Change of Venue – moving the trial out of a certain mile radius of the crime may aid in locating a jury pool without much knowledge of the alleged incident. Of course, it depends on how large the media market is where the crime took place.
• Dismissal of Charges – a tainted jury pool deprives the accused of their right to a fair trial. The opinion of the public, in this case, may result in a dismissal of charges if no other solution can be found.
If authorities have charged you or a family member with a crime, having an aggressive legal defense team is your best tool to preserving your rights and freedoms. Contact our law firm today to discuss the charges with our legal team. There’s a moment to lose. Call now and finally get a good night’s sleep.
NO JAIL TIME
Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)
Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.
Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)
Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.
Commonwealth v. "S"
Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.
State of New Jersey v. "H"
Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.
OUR CRIMINAL DEFENSE TEAM INCLUDES TWO FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
We have decades of experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors, and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Anyone facing charges involving a criminal offense can expect to experience a heightened degree of emotional turmoil, for themselves, as well as their family members. Our team of highly qualified criminal law attorneys and expert legal support staff are committed to providing each of our client’s with the compassion and understanding they deserve, as well as an aggressive plan for representation at an affordable price.
As former prosecutors, we have a balanced and in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution prepares cases. In addition, we have long-standing experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
At Young, Marr and Associates, when we say “experience matters,” we mean it. Our lawyers, which include two former prosecutors and a former senior deputy district attorney bring more than three decades of criminal law experience, handling more than 10,000 criminal cases. It is precisely that experience that allows us to achieve outstanding results for our clients facing DUI, traffic, felony and misdemeanor charges in state, federal and juvenile courts.