When police investigate a crime, they are looking for evidence that can be used against the suspect during criminal proceedings. There has to be enough evidence that a Chicago prosecutor can try to obtain a guilty verdict — which requires proof that a person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If police and prosecutors do not have enough evidence, or some evidence is excluded from the proceedings, then prosecutors may decide not to pursue charges or to drop charges that were previously filed.
In a recent case, prosecutors in DuPage County have decided that they will not file criminal charges in a sexual assault case. In this case, police officers from Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois found two distraught 19-year-old women — one student and her friend — on the campus. The women apparently reported to police officers that they had been drinking at a party earlier that night. Following the party, the women claim that they were attacked and sexually assaulted.
The campus police contacted police from the city of Lisle who then took over the investigation. The Lisle police officers claim that they identified eight persons of interest in the case, six men and two women. After completing their investigation, they handed the case to local prosecutors. However, the prosecutors announced that they will not be filing sexual assault charges. They say that they lack evidence to move forward with the case.
Because evidence can play such an important role in determining the charges in a sexual assault case, people should understand what evidence the police have against them or the types of evidence that can be used in court. With the right help, the accused may be able to challenge some of the evidence, which could eventually lead to prosecutor’s dropping or reducing charges.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “No charges after claim of sexual assaults at Benedictine,” Christy Gutowski, Sep. 25, 2013