When it comes to criminal defense stories, the circumstances usually stray to the extremes. Either you read a story about someone who does something so terrible that, surely, they must be guilty (only for the case to go the other way); or the defendant clearly had no malicious intent, a random convergence of circumstances and personalities leads to a good person being sent to jail under controversy.
The inadequacies of the system are there; and while people try to change them for the better, they only highlight the need for criminal defense attorneys when someone is accused of a crime. They may truly be guilty or truly be innocent; but in either scenario, the charges against them must be fought, because, otherwise, the fair and balanced justice system that you know would not exist.
Take a case out of Florida as an example. A 16-year-old high school student, with no history of bad behavior, was expelled from school and hit with two felony charges because she filled a water bottle, at her friend’s advisement, with aluminum foil and a cleaning solution. The bottle let off a loud “pop” and then started smoking. No one was injured and no damage was done.
But, under the school’s code of conduct, the student was determined eligible for expulsion — an action that was taken. Then, the police got involved — and charged her with discharging a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device. In reality, she was just a curious high schooler who wanted to know what happened when you mixed those two things together. She likely had no idea how the water bottle would react, a sentiment echoed by the school’s principal.
While the school expulsion is a different matter, hopefully this young girl will not be found guilty of these over-the-top charges.
Source: USA Today, “Florida teen arrested, expelled over science ‘blast’,” Michael Winter, May 2, 2013