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Ed Shaw Law No Nonsense Legal Advice

Local Solutions For Local Problems

Things Are Not Always What They Seem

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2017 | Firm News |

How often do we see a sensational news story, so and so arrested, charged with this or that heinous crime. We assume, how awful, how could they do such a thing, what a terrible person they must be. We forget that accusations are easy to make, all it takes is someone, usually from law enforcement, filing what is called s Statement of Probable Cause saying why they think someone committed a crime. If someone wants you arrested, it does not take much for them to make it happen.

Case in point, someone I have known for many years, Jim Hunter, a 67 year old man, recently elected mayor of a local community, with no criminal record was recently arrested on a Friday, ensuring that he would spend the weekend in jail before even seeing a judge. The Statement of Probable Cause, filled out by an officer with a known grudge against Mr. Hunter, who was not happy that Mr. Hunter won a recent election, made it seem like he had committed terrible crimes. Result, he was arrested, jailed, his name was all over the media, causing great harm to his business and reputation. The charges against him are based on statements by the officer with a grudge, and by statements of two other individuals who had previously confronted him to the point where he obtained restraining orders against them from the Court months before the current charges were filed. He is charged with assault based on an incident that happened 6 months ago where two individuals less than half his age confronted him while he was in his truck parked at his property. One of these people was subject to the restraining order granted by the Court in favor of Mr. Hunter due to acts of harassment against Mr. Hunter. A fraud charge is based on an accusation made by the other man who Mr. Hunter obtained a restraining order against. The restraining order was based on several incidents of harassment, including yelling at Mr. Hunter on the main street in town while grabbing his crotch. These accusations found a receptive ear in the officer who was not happy about the election results, and was more than happy to see Mr. Hunter go down. The officer added claims that Mr. Hunter was somehow a risk to flee the area. A 67 year old man, with no criminal record whatsoever, who has lived in a community for years, owning businesses and a home there, is about as low a risk to flee as you can have. This claim appears to have been made for the sole purpose of keeping Mr. Hunter in jail over the weekend.

I hope that the media covers the result of the trial as well as they have covered the accusation. An accusation against someone means nothing, they are cheap. Fortunately, in our system accusations have to be proven in court to a jury for a citizen to be convicted. I expect that the accusers will have a very tough time doing that in this case.


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