Theft is a serious charge here in New Jersey. Defendants charged with theft may wonder what options they have — what they can possibly to do try to fight back. There are in fact a number of different strategies through which individuals may seek to protect their rights in court; this week our Morristown criminal defense law blog will review a couple of different possibilities.
Take the recent case of an alleged theft at a yoga studio just a few miles outside of Morristown. A member of the studio claimed that when she finished a class, she found that someone had gone through her purse and taken cash out – roughly $50. Presumably the alleged theft occurred while she was doing yoga.
The studio owner looked back at security footage, which appeared to show a woman going through purses during the class. The owner thought he recognized the woman on the tape and called the police, who in turn called the suspect in to headquarters for an interview. She attended the interview at police headquarters and denied taking the money, but police proceeded to charge her with stealing the money regardless.
Security footage may seem like powerful evidence against a defendant facing property crime-related charges. However, it is important to remember that the burden of proof is upon the prosecution in a criminal case, and ask some tough questions. Is the person on the tape without a doubt the defendant? Does the tape clearly show the person doing whatever it is the defendant is accused of doing? Has the footage possibly been edited or tampered with?
When ones considers that reasonable doubt should mean acquittal by a jury, arguing for a defendant’s innocence often presents itself as a viable strategy in court, even with prosecutors presenting purported video footage of an alleged crime. Our next post will take a look at yet another option for defendants in cases involving theft charges like this.