Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Teen Wounded At Amusement Park Shooting
The dramatic courtroom scenes where a defendant’s lawyer leaves a witness speechless or leaves the jury with reasonable doubt about the defendant’ guilt are the exception to the rule, but they only account for a fraction of the times that criminal defense lawyers are able to present convincing arguments about a defendant’s innocence, thereby avoiding a conviction. Guilty pleas are statistically more prevalent than criminal trials, but they are not the only possible outcomes after an arrest. Sometimes prosecutors will drop the charges against a defendant before the case even gets to the stage of entering a plea, usually because it is obvious that the evidence against the defendant is insufficient to convict. If you are being accused of a violent crime, a Pittsburgh violent crimes lawyer can help you persuade prosecutors that the evidence does not point to your guilt.
Why Do Prosecutors Drop Charges?
Some criminal cases end almost as soon as they begin, and the defendant gets to walk away without a criminal conviction. Just as defendants often plead guilty when they are sure that the evidence points to their guilt and a guilty plea will get them a lighter sentence than a conviction at trial, prosecutors tend to drop the charges when they are sure that the evidence does not point to the defendant’s guilt; dropping the charges costs less than going all the way through a trial that is almost certain to end in acquittal. In many cases, the prosecution simply does not have enough evidence to secure a conviction. This might be because witnesses refused to testify or because the forensics lab misplaced or mishandled evidence, but sometimes it is simply because the prosecution figured out that the defendant is innocent.
In the News
On September 24, Darryl Pirl, 15, went to Phantom Fall Fest at the Kennywood amusement park. Gunshots rang out, wounding three people, including Pirl, who ducked to the ground for cover as soon as he realized what was happening. A park employee then lay on top of him to act as a shield. When the situation calmed down, a family member drove Pirl to the UPMC hospital, where an Allegheny County detective interviewed him. In addition to the wound on his leg, Pirl had holes in his shirt, which led investigators to believe that he had fired a gun through his clothing, and the state initiated a case against him in juvenile court. Meanwhile, security cameras showed him entering the park through the security scanners at the entrance; he would not have been able to bring a weapon into the park this way. Furthermore, the only weapons recovered from the scene were found too far away from where Pirl had been at the time of the shooting for Pirl to have discarded them. In November, prosecutors dropped the charges against Pirl.
Contact Gary E. Gerson About Weapons Charges Cases
A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for weapons charges, including but not limited to illegal discharge of a firearm. Contact the law offices of Gary E. Gerson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania about your case.