When the 4th District Court jury failed to come to a verdict in the case of the Boise cop charged with having sex with a 17 year-old-girl, the penalty factor may have played a role in their reluctance to convict.
He faced up to life in prison and it is possible that jurors felt such a severe penalty may have been too harsh for consensual sex–regardless of age. There is nothing right about a cop having sex with a minor while on duty–if it happened–but society realizes there should be degrees of sentencing.
This reluctance of jurors to convict became very apparent in 25 years ago when the legislature passed a drunk driving law with a MANDATORY 10 DAY JAIL sentence. Instead of more convictions and fewer DUI’s, the end result was fewer convictions. Even judges at the time said their “discretionary authority” was being usurped.
We may see the Ada County prosecutor try for a reduced charge in an effort to get a conviction the next time around. That may be a good move in the interests of justice.
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