It is easy to read a news article about the arrest of people accused of crime and make a quick judgment that the arrested persons are guilty. Of course, that is against the foundational premise of our criminal justice system, both of our nation and of the state of Colorado, which provide a presumption of innocence of any criminal allegations until proved guilty. For most people, however, it is normal and natural to simply accept what one reads without imprinting the idea of innocence or requiring any more proof than what appears in the press.
Recently, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of a woman and two men on suspicion of conducting a trio of residential burglaries. The two men arrested are father and son. It was reported by the Sheriff’s office that they received a tip about a gold Ford Mustang that had been spotted near the burglaries.
The accused father and son were reportedly found with the vehicle, which had been reported stolen. Those are just about all of the reported facts. Based on those facts and nothing else, it would be difficult for the county prosecutor to get a conviction against them. A photo of a car near the burglary sites will not be enough to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In addition to the facts currently reported, eyewitness testimony would be important for the purpose of tying the suspected individuals into the actual crimes. Another type of evidence for basic proof of facts in Colorado and elsewhere would be the finding of stolen items from the burglary site in the possession of one or more of the defendants. That could be convincing evidence for a jury to find a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of these allegations.
Source: wibw.com, “Father and son burglary team arrested by Jackson Co. authorities“, Kion Hudson, Nov. 23, 2016