More news on: Prof. Ben Trachtenberg

Prof. Trachtenberg Discusses a Controversial Decision Made by Missouri Prosecutor

September 4th, 2013

Prof. Ben Trachtenberg

In a recent interview with KOMU 8 News, Prof. Ben Trachtenberg commented on Pettis County (Mo.) Prosecutor Jeff Mittelhauser’s decision to not immediately pursue a previous assault charge against Rudy Perez Jr., who subsequently killed a VA hospital patient in Columbia.

Mittelhauser previously told KOMU 8 that it is his practice not to file charges against any suspect without evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This practice, however, is not required by Missouri, other state, or U.S. law, which only require the prosecution to show that a majority of the evidence points to a suspect’s guilt before charges are pressed.

Prof. Trachtenberg told KOMU 8 that Mittelhauser’s practice was not unusual or uncommon, as prosecutors vary in their prosecutorial style. Prof. Trachtenberg also stated that both the Missouri and U.S. constitutions contain provisions requiring reasonable bail for charged suspects. As a result of those constitutional provisions, Prof. Trachtenberg further commented that Mittelhauser not only may have been uncomfortable with the evidence he had before him, but there was also a risk that Perez would not have remained in jail should the bail amount have been met.

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