By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
The reason is simple. The vast majority of people charged with crimes generally aren’t in the news to begin with and they want to keep it that way even if they win.
Publishing a win actually defeats the purpose of wiping a record clean with an expunction. Erasing every trace of the arrest everywhere was the goal in the first-place.
Law enforcement, on the other hand, has every reason to make announcements and otherwise publish cases which put them in a positive light.
The result is that in the paper, we tend only to read about the wrong-way drunk driver or meth addicts who say they’re wearing someone else’ pants.
But that’s not reality.
I won two trials last week (Sorry, you knew I had to do some bragging). Neither case will make the news nor should they. The fact is people are acquitted every day for countless reasons…
- The police made up their mind at the beginning of an investigation & wouldn’t let the facts get in the way;
- Prosecutors chose to believe an accusation from someone which wasn’t substantiated with anything other than emotion;
- Police played doctor during a DWI arrest rather than let medical professionals determine if a person’s behavior was due to some other factor than pills or alcohol;
- An officer profiled teenagers out late and in doing so stretched the law a bit too far in making a stop…
…And the reasons for acquittals go on, and on, and on….
The point I’m trying to make is this — what we read in the newspaper and what we see on TV are true stories that leave a skewed impression. And whats the harm in that? It causes jurors to be more skeptical of defense theories (and then everyone acts shocked when someone’s been behind bars for 25 years for a crime they didn’t commit).
But the truth, as with most things in life, is somewhere in the middle.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any situation you should contact an attorney directly.