Criminal law

Forensic Evidence

You are a prosecutor handling the case of a notorious child killer. It has taken investigators four years to build enough evidence to arrest him, and you are glad to see him off the streets. You have charged him with seven counts of murder and are asking for the death penalty. The public, which has been impatient to see this killer caught and punished, wants a quick resolution of the case. Shortly after the trial begins, however, a forensic scientist who works for your county tells you she has discovered a problem: It appears that the evidence from three of the cases indicates that a completely different offender was involved in these crimes—not the defendant, even as an accomplice. This could slow down the court process and possibly create a belief among the general public that the defendant is innocent of the other crimes as well. Answer the following questions:

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a. Do you charge the defendant with these crimes anyway? Why or why not?

b. If the defendant is charged with these killings and the case is closed, what are the implications regarding arresting and charging the actual killer?

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