Is It Common For Accusers To Retract Allegations In A Sex Crime Case?
Let’s say you call the police on your neighbors, and they both get arrested for domestic battery. Once the state’s attorney picks it up and files charges, it’s no longer up to the people involved in terms of what took place. So it’s not up to you or your neighbors. Only the state’s attorney can drop the case or pursue it. Once the state gets the case, they very seldom drop it, and I can offer an example of this in the domestic violence courtroom.
Many times you’ll have situations where couples get in an argument: one calls the police to get the other one out of there because it’s just getting too hot, and one person or the other gets charged with domestic battery. Two weeks later everybody’s fine: they’re back together, they don’t want any problems, there wasn’t any big issue to begin with, and they don’t want to testify. They can come into the police station and say, “Look, I want to drop charges,” and they go to the state’s attorney and say, “Look, I want to drop charges,” but it’s not up to them. It’s not them versus their partner: it’s the State of Illinois versus their partner.
The state attorney’s office isn’t very likely to drop charges. You used to be able to come in and sign an affidavit in front of the judge, saying this has all been explained to the state’s attorney, and it is my wish to drop the charges. But later led to some people saying, this was done under coercion, so now what they do is once the case comes up, it has to be set for trial. When it comes to trial, if the person doesn’t come in, doesn’t want to testify and hasn’t been subpoenaed, the state will just dismiss the case. They’ll say, ”If you’re not interested in pressing it, we’re not going to.”
If it’s severe enough, the state’s not going to give them that option. They’re going to say. “Look, your boyfriend cut you with a knife and made a 6-inch gash on your stomach. I don’t care if you made up with him or not. He’s a dangerous person, so we’re prosecuting him.”
The state has the last word and the final prosecutorial discretion to proceed with the case or not. Now, does it help if you have the complainant come in and say, ‘We’re all good, we’ve been to counseling, we want the whole thing dropped?” Of course, it helps. A lot of times the state will listen to that and say, “Sure, we’ll go ahead and not drop the charges; but if you don’t show up for trial, then we’ll presume you did not want to proceed.” Usually, the state would prefer to have somebody there, but they have to cover their butt, and domestic cases can be messy situations.
For example, you could have a couple that’s just hot-headed: one weekend they’re fighting; the next minute they’re fine. Two weeks later they’re fine, and the next week they’re fighting, and it goes back and forth. When the police constantly are called out there and constantly arresting people, the state’s attorney, even if the victim doesn’t show up, gets tired of filing the charges and dropping them. The state could say, “Look, one more of these things, and we’re pushing ahead with a subpoena for you to show up because you’re the victim; and if you don’t show up, we will then have a body attachment issued for you, which is our prerogative.” The judge approves it, specifying that you must show up and testify.
Typically, if the complainant loses contact with the state attorney’s office on purpose, doesn’t get subpoenaed and doesn’t show up for trial, the attorney’s office will dismiss the charges. However, they always have the right within 18 months to come in and refile the case if they can show they didn’t perform due diligence. But that rarely happens.
As another example, let’s say there’s a couple that was fighting, and the person who was the complainant got very scared of the other person and moved out of state for a couple of months, missed the trial and didn’t realize it was going to get dropped. When they come back, they say, “I never got a copy of the subpoena; it wasn’t my fault, and I want the case reinstated.” Usually, the state will go ahead and reinstate it. It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s a possibility. So that’s how they deal with those situations.
How Long Is Someone Required To Register As A Sex Offender In Illinois?
There’s a demarcation line for certain offenses of 10 years, and there are certain others that are for life. Obviously, you can figure out that the more serious are life terms, including child pornography. Child pornography can also include a 15-year-old girlfriend sending her 17-year-old boyfriend naked pictures of herself.
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