Will prosecution drop charges (Larceny under 250) from Private Criminal Complaint I filed in 2012?

Asked 10 months ago - Worcester, MA

I filed a Private Criminal Complaint mid - 2012 for a stolen iPhone. I received Summons to appear for the defendant's pre-trial hearing late October 2013. In May 2013 I moved 2 hours away (still in MA) from that Court House. The personal expenses I've undertaken in consequence of filing a criminal complaint very quickly exceeded the value of the iPhone, and it would be unreasonable to expect that level of financial restitution in either criminal or civil court. I shared a binder full of evidence with the Clerk Magistrate in 2012, and now fervently believe that Private Criminal Complaints are not a sensible tool for recovering a stolen iPhone. I want to put this all behind me & lose the headaches -- not any more valuable time or money. Thanks for your time.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Michael P. Gerace


    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If the private criminal complaint issued, then it is in the hands of the prosecutor. It is up to the prosecutor whether to drop the matter or go forward. If you think you want to drop (whether a good decision or not, I cannot say at this point), then you can communicate this to the prosecutor or the VW advocate. On the other hand, the prosecutor and VW advocate should be very interested in your concerns, as thy normally are with victims. You generally do not have to be in court except if you go to trial, so that the case can continue without you (again, as long as a complaint has issued). The defendant has the inconvenience of coming back to court over and over again until the matter is resolved, not you. Last, the defendant will have to pay you restitution on the lost phone if he/she is convicted or pleads guilty or even if he/she takes a CWOF. So you will get reimbursed for the phone while not having to keep coming back to court.

  2. Stephen Ross Cohen

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The Pandoras box for victims, if you are under subpoena you should talk to the district attorney and see if they will let you stay away, otherwise you have to go.

    My name is Stephen R. Cohen and have practiced since 1974. I practice in Los Angeles and Orange County, CA.... more
  3. David C. Newton


    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Once a criminal charge has issued it is up to the District Attorney's Office on how to proceed. It sounds like you received a letter to come to the pretrial hearing. If that s the case you are not required to be there, you are only required to show-up if t is an actual summons. You should call the District Attorney's Office, the contact information will be on the letter that you received, and you should explain your situation to them. However, if you do actually receive a summons your only real choice is to obey it and go.

    This is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
  4. Terri D. Leary

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . The most important part of your statement, which I feel is important to address is that you now "fervently believe that private criminal complaints are not a sensible tool for recovering a stolen iphone." I could not agree more: the criminal justice system is not designed nor intended for personal use for monetary recovery. It is intended to punish a person who has committed a crime, and restitution is a by-product of that punishment. A crime is prosecuted by the state for society, not for a particular person, even if a person is the victim.

    Providing users with information is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. However, if in... more

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