Many criminal cases proceed from the initial incident to the arrest of the suspect to the posting of criminal charges. In some cases, however, the county attorney’s office will decide that it does not have sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for the arrest and the suspect will be released. For example, in a recent murder case, the Marion County Attorney’s Office decided to release the prime suspect.
The crime occurred on July 12 when police were called to the scene of a large disturbance on Barnor Drive at about 11 p.m. They found dozens of juveniles, and a 13-year-old boy lay wounded in the street. He was taken to Riley Hospital, where he later died. A local TV station reported that the boy had been trying to break up a fight when shooting erupted. A woman was arrested as the principal suspect in the shooting and was taken to the Marion County Jail.
Indiana law requires that a person who has been arrested be taken before a judge to hear the charges in the case within 48 hours of the arrest. Instead of requiring the suspect to appear at the hearing, the Marion County Attorney’s Office decided to release the woman without filing charges. The victim’s family expressed disappointment at the decision to release the woman, but they also acknowledged their understanding that the investigation of the crime will continue. The suspect’s attorney said that his client supported a complete investigation of the incident.
The suspect in this case apparently retained an attorney shortly after her arrest. Anyone who is arrested on similar charges would be wise to follow the same course. An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the evidence, spot potential weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case and provide advice on what type of plea should be entered.