Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Destiny's [alleged killer's] date with the DA

For those of you who are hoping that my clerking for the District Attorney will provide you with the inside scoop on what is happening in the Destiny investigation, sorry.

Unlike last time when I spilled the beans during Massachusetts' Constitutional Convention surrounding Gay Marriage, I have a ethical and legal duty not to divulge attorney work product and attorney-client privledged information. I might have severely worsened my relationship with my Boss since I was not supposed to tell the internets the strategy of the pro-gay marriage folks. For that I appologize. But now I have the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) to take next Friday as part of the Bar. So I can't pretend I don't know.

I don't want to prevent from ever getting hired before I even graduate. Plus, I don't know anything more than you do right now other than Dep. DA Bob Stott is personally screening the case. Screening is the process by which the District Attorney's office decides whether to prosecute a given suspect whose sitting in jail on police charges. If the case looks weak, or the charges seem exaggerated, the DA has the power/discretion to drop the case or to reduce what the police want charged and what ends up getting charged. Since Utah is an "Information" state rather than an indictment state, we don't both with the whole grand jury thing.

So assuming Stott, who is a great crafty guy and great attorney, decides to go forward with the case, he would then write up a Probable Cause statement, which would end up in an Information and the then-Defendant would have the right to a preliminary trial to determine whether there is probable cause to bind him over for trial. From what I have read in the news, I would bet all of these steps would be pretty straight forward. After all, her body was found in his basement.

Next, there would either be some discovery/investigation prior to the trial, or a plea. My bet is that Salt Lake Legal Defenders (or whomever gets the case) will take a very aggressive approach to the defense since this is high profile.

I will be happy to explain the legal process to readers as it unfolds, but keep in mind I will just be going off publicly available documents and what I know about Criminal Procedure. My opinions are not those of my employer and are not intended for jurors or the media.

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