As we have mentioned previously in this blog, for someone in St. Paul to be convicted of a crime, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual did what he or she was charged with doing. If the prosecutor can’t prove this, then the jury must acquit the defendant of the charges. If it is clear that the prosecutor doesn’t have any evidence or not nearly enough evidence, the prosecutor may drop the charges altogether.
A 33-year-old St. Paul native who was originally charged with aggravated robbery had the charges dropped just under two weeks after a co-defendant facing the same charges was acquitted by a jury. It seems that after prosecutors realized their lack of evidence would likely lead to another acquittal they chose to drop the charges. It is unclear why the prosecutors would bring the charges against the two men in the first place, as there was very little evidence connecting the men to the apparent robbery.
Prosecutors alleged that the 33 year old and his 37-year-old co-defendant had met a man in St. Paul who was trying to sell his laptop. The man had put his laptop on Craigslist and agreed to meet the former defendants in the parking lot of a Burger King, when he said the man used a stun gun to disable him and steal his computer, wallet and phone. Prosecutors say the men then drove away.
Police responded to the apparent robbery and caught up with the men’s vehicle. When they searched the vehicle, however, they were not able to find any stolen property. As the police were quite quick to respond, the lack of evidence made it highly unlikely that the former defendants were the ones responsible for the robbery.
Theft charges can be difficult to defend, but without sufficient evidence, a criminal defense lawyer can help to clear wrongfully charged individuals’ names.
Source: Pioneer Press, “Charges dropped in St. Paul robbery linked to Craigslist,” Emily Gurnon, April 10, 2013