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Missouri prosecutors decline to charge alleged burglar

Prosecutors with the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office refused to charge a man on Dec. 17 who had been detained on suspicion of first-degree burglary by police officers. According to the prosecutors, there was not sufficient evidence for them to charge the man.

Reportedly, the man was accused of forcing his way into the home of an 81-year-old woman on Dec. 16 around 4:30 p.m. She told police that the noise had awakened her from a nap. A 50-year-old woman who was also in the home reportedly pulled out a firearm and held man at gunpoint until the police could arrive.

Responding officers indicated that they found damage to the back door of the home as well as to a wall next to the door. The 28-year-old man will now be released from custody since the prosecutors refused to charge him with a crime.

In criminal matters, although the police may arrest a suspect, the police are not the arbiters of charging decisions. Upon a referral for charging, an assigned prosecuting attorney will review the evidence the police have in connection to the case. If the prosecutor reviews the evidence and finds it insufficient to support the requested criminal charges, they will likely refuse to charge the suspect.

If a prosecuting attorney later receives additional evidence supporting probable cause to charge a defendant, the person may then be later charged if the charges are brought within the statute of limitation required by the state for the offense. This case illustrates that in some cases, although an officer may believe a person has committed a crime, they may sometimes either be wrong or the evidence to support their suspicions may simply not support their suspicions. A defense attorney may help their client combat any allegations.

Source: STLtoday.com, “No charges against St. Louis burglary suspect held at gunpoint until police arrive“, December 17, 2014

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