To the editor: The news of Pirate’s return to the community is justifiably sparking concern. But do you know what’s not sparking concern? The district attorney’s actions in 2016 that have led to Pirate’s freedom today.
News-Miner articles haven’t really explained why charges were dropped. They have explained when charges were dropped: after his alleged victim died. The News-Miner seems to imply that this is causal.
Yes, I’m sure it’s true that having the victim alive and present makes the case easier for the DA. But we all know that a victim doesn’t actually have to be present in order for a successful prosecution to be made. We know that because murder cases are conducted without the victim being alive and present. Unless — and this is a horrifying thought — the standards of evidence in a murder case are lower than they are for other types of violent crimes.
What we really need to be asking is, “Why did the DA drop the case against him?” The alleged victim being dead is a dodge. Her death cannot be the reason. It can’t. People die, by accident or suicide or disease or just piss-poor luck. And while the death of a plaintiff in a civil case may be reason to drop the case, it’s not reason to drop a criminal case, because, and this is important, the DA doesn’t represent the victim. The DA represents the people.
So we need to know: Why did the DA drop the charges?
The thing is, this wasn’t a one-off event. Pirate wasn’t set free in 2016. He was sent to Las Vegas, where he stood trial for a crime that was substantially similar to what he was accused of here. Pirate has a pattern of behavior, and we have good reason to fear that he will continue to be a threat to our community. And the DA knew that in 2016 when the charges were dropped.