Welcome to the Real World
The Defendant was charged with a single count of theft. The incident arose after the victim had lost their wallet in a grocery store. Upon locating the wallet, the victim asserted cash was missing. Surveillance video was reviewed and the Defendant was subsequently charged. The case ultimately was dismissed after the Defendant agreed to a civil compromise.
"This is a case that will stay with me forever. It is a great example of just how easily it is for the government to destroy people's lives. The condensed story is as follows:
A short time before the theft from the wallet my client had been witnessed allegedly having a counterfeit bill. He had tried to pay for some groceries and the store reported the purported counterfeit bill to law enforcement. During that investigation law enforcement obtained my client's identity, but they never did anything else.
(For those of you assuming my client's guilt in this regard, I can tell you that IF the bill was counterfeit it was not intentional. There was no evidence given to me that the bill was counterfeit because there was no case.)
Shortly after that incident the wallet theft occurred. Law enforcement responded to the store to investigate the theft. When law enforcement arrived, they were given access to see the video surveillance. The officer watched the video. This video was poor quality and the camera was at a great distance making it even more difficult to be able to identify the person who took the wallet. However, the video did show a person whose hair color was different than my client's. Further, law enforcement had the name of the card holder that was used to pay for the suspect's groceries that day. Law enforcement didn't bother trying to track that person down. Finally, to further complicate the case, law enforcement waited nearly 3 months to file and notify my client that they were charging him with a crime he knew nothing about.
Imagine getting charged with theft of money from 3 months prior and not knowing anything about it because it was not you.
Imagine trying desperately to come up with some sort of documentation that could provide an alibi to prove to the government that it was not you. But, because you do not know exactly where you were or what you were doing at that exact time 3 months ago, you can't.
Imagine risking going to jail because a police officer promised that he would come to court and testify under oath that you are a person he has never met, BUT he saw you on a grainy crappy surveillance video and that you are the same person that was seen on a surveillance video days or weeks before at a completely different location.
Imagine living in a society where the people who are going to be your jurors are so trusting of law enforcement that you have fear that those people MIGHT believe you were actually the thief because the police officer "said so."
Imagine if you could pay the victim $500, which is the same amount the victim claimed was stolen, and the government would agree to dismiss the case.
Imagine if fighting the case was going to cost exponentially more than $500 and take a huge toll on your physical and mental well-being and, even though you are 100% innocent of the allegation, you opt to pay $500 just to have it go away so you can go back to your life.
Imagine that this kind of thing happens every day, in every court, and in every state. To quote one of my favorite movies, "Welcome to the real world."
Josephine County, Oregon
Actual Case Summaries
Be advised that I never promise a client a particular outcome, details of prior cases should not be taken as an indication that other clients will necessarily see the same results.