My opponent says that too many cases are withdrawn. He also complains that those cases are not being withdrawn quickly enough.
There are many reasons that charges are withdrawn. A bad check is paid or restitution is otherwise made. The Court suppressed needed evidence from use at trial, most often in DUI cases. Required evidence is not forthcoming from the lab or another jurisdiction. The defendant is determined to be incompetent to stand trial or otherwise has significant mental health issues. Victims become uncooperative, recant their testimony, or otherwise express an unwillingness to go to trial. Pursuit of a relatively minor offense would waste money and manpower such as a $2.78 retail theft and harassment.
Defendants even die. Four of the cases recited by my opponent are from his office. In these cases, the defendants died before trial. Should these cases not have been withdrawn?
The simple fact is that we apply one test for all cases. Can the Commonwealth prove the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt? When the answer is no, we withdraw the prosecution. At other times, we add charges when the evidence dictates.
Which cases to withdraw -- and when to do so -- are matters entrusted to the District Attorney’s discretion. None of the cases recited by my opponent were dismissed for any arbitrary, capricious, or improper reason.
My opponent has never complained to me when any case against one of his criminal defendants was dismissed.