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Legal Eagle question on indictments

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I wrote a story about federal indictments where a total of nine people were indicted by the Department of Justice on 134 counts. My story quotes from U.S. Attorney office documents.
    The charges were later dismissed and the Feds went back to the grand jury to get new indictments.
    One of the people in the article, called and was furious. She said that since the charges were dismissed, that she wasn't actually indicted.
    My understanding, and the lawyers I've talked to, is that just because the charges were dismissed, it doesn't mean that she wasn't indicted.
    The dismissal doesn't change history.
    Do the board's legal eagles agree?
    Oh, and she isn't claiming expungement.
  2. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    I'm not a legal eagle, I just write about them from time to time. But it sounds to me like your complainant is full of shit. She was charged, just not convicted. As long as you didn't suggest she was found guilty, I wouldn't sweat it.
  3. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    It's like Bill Clinton. He was impeached, but he wasn't convicted.
  4. ink-stained wretch

    ink-stained wretch Active Member

    Indictments are such funny creatures: the only lawyer present is the prosecutor or one of his minions. Giving rise to the old saw that any prosecutor worth his salt can get a ham sandwich indicted.

    Tell her she was indicted and the indictment was withdrawn to be refiled. Then tell her to talk to her attorney, you don't work for free.
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