If someone pressed charges for theft by unlawful taking against you but then proceeded to commit suicide will the case be dropped?

If someone pressed charges for theft by unlawful taking against you but then
proceeded to commit suicide will the case be dropped?

Asked on March 11, 2017 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The case *may* be dropped--it depends on whether the prosecutor feels that there is enough evidence or testimony to convict without the testimony of the deceased. A criminal case is not like a civil case: the victim of the crime is not in control of a criminal case, the way someone injured in, say, a car accident is in control of his or her lawsuit and is the one bringing the lawsuit. Rather, the victim is essentially a witness to the crime. His or her testimony is obviously very valuable, but it is not necessary if there is enough other evidence or testimony (e.g. from other witnesses)--or even a confession or incriminating statements from the accused--that the case can be proven. So if the prosecutor feels that he can proceed without the deceased, he may; but if he feels that the deceased's testimony was necessary, he is likely to dismiss rather than pursuing a losing case.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The case *may* be dropped--it depends on whether the prosecutor feels that there is enough evidence or testimony to convict without the testimony of the deceased. A criminal case is not like a civil case: the victim of the crime is not in control of a criminal case, the way someone injured in, say, a car accident is in control of his or her lawsuit and is the one bringing the lawsuit. Rather, the victim is essentially a witness to the crime. His or her testimony is obviously very valuable, but it is not necessary if there is enough other evidence or testimony (e.g. from other witnesses)--or even a confession or incriminating statements from the accused--that the case can be proven. So if the prosecutor feels that he can proceed without the deceased, he may; but if he feels that the deceased's testimony was necessary, he is likely to dismiss rather than pursuing a losing case.


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