By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If the victim of a crime chooses not to press charges, is that the end of the case? You may be surprised.READ MORE: Preparations Underway For The Salute To America Independence Day Parade In Philadelphia
George Zimmerman found himself in the news again, this time after his girlfriend called 911 saying he was brandishing a weapon, and that she feared for her life. She later filed an affidavit claiming she felt intimidated by the police to press charges and wants them dropped. The prosecution has said they will review her statements but wouldn’t automatically drop charges.
Why? If the victim doesn’t want to press the charges, why should the district attorney? Because while a person has the ability to file and maintain a civil lawsuit against a wrongdoer, the decision on whether to pursue criminal charges isn’t necessarily up to the victim of the alleged crime. It’s the state or the feds who decide when a crime has been committed and if there’s enough evidence to prove the case.READ MORE: Suspect Arrested Following Fatal Stabbing In Wissahickon: Philadelphia Police
That’s surprising to a lot of people but makes sense when you think about the increase in victim intimidation that could happen if a person could get off scott free provided his victim doesn’t want to file charges.
While it’s much more difficult for authorities to prove a case if the victim who is usually the prime witness, won’t testify, that doesn’t mean that they can’t if they have other sources of evidence.MORE NEWS: Chick-Fil-A Earns Top Spot For Customer Satisfaction In America For Eighth Straight Year: Report
As for Zimmerman’s girlfriend, she should rethink a volatile romance, whether or not it involved criminal behavior.