What will happen next with my stepson's abuser when there is evidence against him and he is pleading not guilty?
2 attorney answers
All cases are different... but everyone who is charged with a crime in America is presumed innocent and can only be convicted if the jury is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
It sounds like the case already went to trial once already, which resulted in a "hung jury." That happens when the jurors cannot reach a unanimous verdict, one way or another. If some are convinced the defendant are guilty, but others still have a doubt about his guilt, the jury is deadlocked and the District Attorney has to decide whether to retry the case.
The DA's decision can be influenced by many factors, such as the split of the jurors. If eleven voted guilty, but only one voted for an acquittal, the DA may think it's a strong case and elect to try the case again. On the other hand, if eleven voted for "not guilty," the DA may decide they don't have a strong chance of getting a conviction, or they may offer a plea to a lesser offense.
It's impossible for a stranger on the Internet to predict what may happen in a particular case. It sounds like you are already in touch with the victim advocate at the DA's office, who is familiar with the case and can give you a more meaningful answer about the specifics.
This is NOT legal advice. It is a general discussion of legal principles by a California lawyer, and does not create an attorney/client relationship. You should always consult PRIVATELY with an attorney.
Mr. Marshall has done an excellent job of explaining the criminal process and what happens when a jury can't reach a verdict, so I won't discuss those topics in any detail. I'm puzzled, however, by your statement that the defendant has only been to court "3 times." In my experience, cases rarely proceed to trial so quickly, even where the defendant is in custody and the case is relatively straightforward. Although the process can seem painfully slow to a victim or concerned family members, it takes time for prosecutors and defense attorneys to conduct investigation and prepare for trial. Is it possible that the advocate misspoke? Perhaps the advocate meant that the major players in the case--the judge, the prosecutor, and the defendant--are trying to negotiate some sort of plea agreement and have been unable to do so.
In any event, you should consult with the advocate and DA assigned to the case. They should be able to give you details about what has happened with the case and what may happen going forward.