As most of our readers know, in Michigan prosecutors have to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This high standard of proof is one reason prosecutors often try to extract a guilty plea from the accused, perhaps as part of a plea bargain. They often would rather not roll the dice on going to trial, especially when the evidence against the defendant is shakier than they would like to admit.
Sometimes, the prosecution will charge a person, continue investigating, then drop the charges for lack of evidence. That appears to be what happened in the case of a Michigan man accused of robbing a grocery store security guard.
Authorities claimed the man, a resident of Buena Vista Township, was the one who held up the security guard outside the local Kroger grocery store in March 2014. The assailant used a BB gun that the victim said looked like a real handgun, police said.
Police arrested the defendant “minutes” after the robbery. Their reason for zeroing in on the defendant so quickly is not clear from an article by MLive.com, except that he lived near the store.
The defendant was charged with armed robbery, possession of cocaine and resisting and obstructing a police officer, all felonies. The armed robbery charge alone carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
However, late in January prosecutors dropped all charges. One prosecutor admitted that they lacked sufficient evidence to go to trial. For example, they could not find any witnesses to the incident.
Every criminal case is unique, and the advice and assistance of an experience defense attorney often makes the difference between an unjust conviction and dropped charges or a not guilty verdict.