Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Material witnesses held without charge for more than 2 years

An incredible story out of Oregon demonstrates that the criminal justice system doesn't always respect your rights or your liberty -- and for this reason, anyone accused of a crime needs to get criminal defense help to ensure that they are protected from this type of unfortunate situation.

On this day two-and-a-half years ago (900 days ago, to be exact), two people were arrested and accused of hindering the prosecution in a case that involved a murder. One of the men arrested is the father of the other person charged. These two people have been held as material witnesses in the case.

But here's where it becomes unsettling: the father has been held this entire time -- 900 days -- without being charged with a crime. The "hindering prosecution" charge was dropped long ago, and the father is still sitting in jail, at this very moment, without any crimes attributed to his name. The man's son is also being held as a material witness for the crime which another one of his son's allegedly committed -- and that son has been declared schizophrenic, complicating the charges against him as well.

Regardless, the American Civil Liberties Union says that they have never heard of such a detainment when it comes to a "material witness." Such an unprecedented case sheds a disturbing light on the power of the criminal justice system. They can just lock you up and forget about you, even if it violates your rights or it violates common sense. Consulting a criminal defense attorney immediately after any charges of criminal activity are filed against you is imperative.

Source: The Guardian, "Oregon man facing no charges remains in jail 900 days after arrest," Nicky Woolf, March 16, 2015

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