An unknown person or persons shot three people, one of them fatally, in a quiet part of a quiet Laurens County community.
“There was a shooting down the street and it was like a really big shocker because it’s usually really quiet around here,” one neighbor said. The lounge has been a nuisance before with customers sometimes leaving piles of trash on the sidewalks, but this shooting was different, she added. Investigators have no leads and no suspects.
“To address the recent sharp increase in violent crimes within the City of Dublin, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office will partner with the Dublin Police Department to offer additional patrol support. I am assigning additional deputies to the city to perform concentrated patrols, effective immediately,” official stated in a Facebook post. “We will not sit by and watch while others create mayhem. Everyone deserves to thrive in a safe community. Chief Moon and I are committed to doing everything we possibly can to ensure Dublin, Laurens Country remains a safe place.”
Criminal Aggravated Assault Matters
No-evidence and no-witness criminal matters usually involve long investigations. Long investigations are fraught with procedural and other errors.
Initially, investigators usually interview people in the area who have criminal records. Investigators hope that these individuals were involved in the crime or know someone who was involved in the crime. This approach often works, but these people don’t give investigators something for nothing. They usually want something in return, typically cash, leniency for themselves, or leniency for another person.
Paid informants, whether that payment is leniency or cash, might provide accurate information. But that information is unreliable. A broken clock is correct two times a day. A Marietta criminal defense lawyer can usually throw the informer’s testimony out of court, unless that informer had a solid track record and/or offered some corroborating proof.
When officers lean on suspects, they often claim their Fifth Amendment rights don’t apply, since the suspect isn’t under arrest and is technically free to leave.
Arrest or non-arrest has nothing to do with Fifth Amendment rights. The right to remain silent begins when custodial interrogation begins.
Quite simply, “custody” means the suspect, defendant, or other individual doesn’t feel free to leave. Generally, people in interview rooms don’t feel as if they can get up, walk out, and go home. “Interrogation” is more complex. This I-word doesn’t just mean asking questions about a certain subject, like a shooting in downtown Dublin. Skilled investigators squeeze information out of suspects or witnesses without asking questions.
The Supreme Court recently thew a monkey wrench into the Fifth Amendment issue. Under current law people waive their Constitutional rights unless they expressly “take the Fifth.”
Some investigations take a different path. Investigators re-canvas the area, looking for additional witnesses. Frequently, they find someone who saw something. However, the new witness doesn’t close the case.
Frequently, these witnesses initially told different stories to investigators, leaving them open to the classic “were you lying then or are you lying now” cross-examination method. Alternatively, they saw so little that the witness doesn’t pass the credibility test, which was outlined above.
Defenses in Criminal Matters
We reviewed some procedural defenses in violent crimes above. These crimes often have substantive defenses as well.
Aggravated assault and most other violent crimes, with the exception of ordinary assault, are specific intent crimes. Alcohol or drug use is a defense in such crimes. These substances impair the thought process. Therefore, these individuals cannot intend both the act, like an assault, and the result, like seriously hurting someone. That thought process is too complex for drunk or high people to go through.
Self-defense could be a defense as well. Generally, no one witnessed the offense. If Phil claims Eddie threatened him and Eddie denies the story, the jury must decide who is more credible.
Incidentally, people very rarely lie under oath, in the sense that they fabricate stories. We remember things selectively. Phil and Eddie might remember the same event in two very different ways.
If a procedural or substantive defense might apply, a Marietta criminal defense lawyer can often obtain probation in a pela bargain agreement. Initially, the terms and conditions of probation are often harsh, so judges are tough on crime and prosecutors get a win. Judges have almost unlimited discretion to modify these terms and conditions at any time. They usually do so once the cameras stop rolling.
Civil Premises Liability Claims
Assault on another person’s property is like a hit-and-run, a DUI collision, and several other incidents that have both criminal and civil implications.
In a civil case, a Marietta personal injury lawyer has the burden of proof. We’ll discuss the evidence in a civil case below. First, let’s examine the legal structure of a premises liability claim.
This structure begins with the purpose of a civil claim. Criminal cases punish wrongdoers. Civil cases compensate the victims. The property owner probably didn’t pull the trigger in this case. But the property owner might have turned a blind eye to security concerns, which is basically the same thing.
Usually, owners have a duty of care to provide reasonable security. What’s “reasonable” in a given situation depends on several factors such as:
- Nature of the Business: Nightclubs that serve alcohol are breeding grounds for arguments that could easily become violent. So, these establishments usually need bouncers or other tough guys on site.
- Area’s Crime Rate: Violent crimes are rare in quiet little towns like Dublin, even at rowdy nightclubs. Just like the City of Marietta doesn’t need snowplows, Dublin nightclubs often don’t need much security. The aforementioned duty of care doesn’t encompass a one-off freak event.
- Prior Similar Incidents: A prior similar incident at that location, or a nearby location, is a clear signal to beef up security.
Additionally, a Marietta personal injury lawyer must prove the owner knew about, or should have known about, the injury-causing hazard, whether it was a fall hazard like a loose handrail or a security hazard.
Evidence in Civil Claims
The burden of proof in a criminal case is beyond any reasonable doubt. But the burden of proof in a civil claim (a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not) is much lower.
Additionally, the victim need not prove who committed the assault or for what reason. The victim must only prove that the assault or other injury occurred on the defendant’s property. Moreover, the victim must establish the degree of injury.
Therefore, the police accident report and medical bills are often sufficient in civil claims. Attorneys often shore up this evidence with expert testimony from an accident reconstruction engineer or an independent doctor.
Shootings usually have criminal and civil consequences. For a free consultation with an experienced Marietta criminal defense attorney, contact The Phillips Law Firm, LLC. We routinely handle matters in Cobb County and nearby jurisdictions.