The most powerful criminal lawyer in Saline County is the prosecutor.
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Someone wanted to know why the prosecuting attorney had not charged someone with a crime when that person had allegedly sexually assaulted or raped a child on two occasions. To be clear, I don’t know about the case, the facts, or any evidence. I don’t know the person who asked this question, the alleged victim, or the alleged perpetrator.
And those are important determinations about whether to charge someone with any crime, including a sex crime. I can tell you this much—false allegations of sex crimes are devastating to the accused and their family. We are talking about false accusations that can never be taken back and forever change how moms, dads, kids, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, and cousins interact.
People just don’t look at someone accused of a sex crime the same again, even when it is false. Sometimes, family members never speak to each other again. I have seen it happen time and time again. False allegations are as devastating as true allegations.
The decision to charge any crime, including sex crimes, rests largely on evidentiary factors. I was once a sworn and certified police officer that trained new police officers on how to be good street cops. I summed it up this way: There is a difference between knowing and proving. Knowing is a type of certainty that forms in your mind and convinces you that something has surely occurred. Proving, on the other hand, is being able to take the knowledge formed in your mind and prove it to twelve jurors.
Proof is statements, documents, recordings, or forensic items that verify knowledge. Verification, in a criminal case, must be beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain a criminal conviction.
That brings us to the most powerful criminal lawyer in the county—the elected prosecutor. He is the only person who can bring criminal charges. You can commit capital murder, kill someone in cold blood in the commission of a heinous crime—even kill him or her in front of ten witnesses that would swear on a stack of bibles that you did it, they saw it, and knew it was you that had killed.
But, if the elected prosecutor does not bring charges against you, there is no one else in the State who can do it, not even the judge (though you could be charged in federal court if your actions constitute a federal crime). If the judge tries to replace the elected prosecutor with a special prosecutor who will bring the criminal charges, that is against the law, and the same act by a judge in a previous case has been overturned by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
This brings up another point. The current prosecuting attorney, Ken Casady (who has done a good job as the prosecutor), will not be the prosecuting attorney this time next year. He will be a judge. He will take the bench in Saline County in an uncontested judicial race. He will take Bobby McCallister’s former position, which is currently held by the Honorable Barbara Webb.
The most powerful criminal lawyer in the county is up for election. There are two people running for the prosecutor position — Chris Walton and Parker Jones. Whomever wins this election cannot be replaced because you or I disapprove of his decisions on whether to charge people with crimes.
I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the issues in this race (there is a big one involving new evidence in two murders that nobody is talking about) as well as the candidates, their positions, backgrounds, character, and morals. This is an important decision for the people of Saline County.
I highly recommend that you vote and do so wisely.
- See the archive of The Lancaster Law Report at www.mysaline.com/lancaster