This past summer, a Minnesota criminal vehicular homicide case was scheduled to go to trial before a jury. The prosecutor has the burden of proof in any criminal case in Minnesota. A person accused of a crime does not have to prove anything. However, a criminal defendant also has the right to present a complete defense, and may choose to present evidence against the charges.
The criminal defense in the felony drunk driving case consulted with an expert crash reconstruction expert. The accused intended to call that expert to the stand to defend against the felony charges. Shortly before trial, the prosecutor dismissed the case. However, that may not be the end of the story. The prosecutor dismissed the charges to have more time to look at the defense expert’s conclusions to determine whether she will in the end re-file the criminal case against the Minnesota man.
The case involves a single-vehicle roll-over accident in Northern Minnesota. Two friends were returning from a concert in December 2010. The vehicle reportedly crashed, ejecting both men. One of the men died. The survivor was charged with serious drunk driving related charges, including criminal vehicular homicide (CVH).
The state apparently is assuming that the survivor of the crash was the driver. However, the defense accident reconstruction expert reportedly says the evidence of the crash shows otherwise. Although law enforcement has claimed that they used DNA testing, conflicting statements of the accused and other investigative techniques to determine who was driving, the case has, at least temporarily been dismissed.
The expected defense expert’s testimony, for now, has the prosecutor looking at the case. If she decides to re-file the charges, the jury may get to hear all the evidence in the felony DWI case, including the defense expert who says the state’s case does not hold water. The prosecutor reportedly has until early December to re-file the charges.
Source: The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, “Family of crash victim says justice denied,” Dave Olson, Nov. 5, 2011