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Prosecutors Reduce Murder Charges, but Man Claims Self-Defense

If prosecutors at the Osceola-Orange State Attorney's Office feel they have a strong case, however, they have made an unusual tactical choice. This week, they announced that they've reduced the charges from first-degree murder to second-degree murder. This was not an offer for plea bargain -- they straight-out reduced the charges.

It's impossible to know, and the State Attorney's Office has not responded to reporters' requests for a statement. Whatever the actual facts of this case, however, the situation can only make us wonder if a self-defense claim by someone with a criminal record is taken as seriously by prosecutors as one by a person with no previous law enforcement contact.

It can also serve to remind us that, when it comes to criminal allegations, press reports are by their nature imperfect, incomplete and on occasions biased. That's one of the many reasons why we have the constitutional right to due process and a fair trial by a jury.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Accused killer facing reduced charges in slaying of two Orange County men," Arelis R. Hernández, March 19, 2013

If prosecutors at the Osceola-Orange State Attorney's Office feel they have a strong case, however, they have made an unusual tactical choice. This week, they announced that they've reduced the charges from first-degree murder to second-degree murder. This was not an offer for plea bargain -- they straight-out reduced the charges.

It's impossible to know, and the State Attorney's Office has not responded to reporters' requests for a statement. Whatever the actual facts of this case, however, the situation can only make us wonder if a self-defense claim by someone with a criminal record is taken as seriously by prosecutors as one by a person with no previous law enforcement contact.

It can also serve to remind us that, when it comes to criminal allegations, press reports are by their nature imperfect, incomplete and on occasions biased. That's one of the many reasons why we have the constitutional right to due process and a fair trial by a jury.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Accused killer facing reduced charges in slaying of two Orange County men," Arelis R. Hernández, March 19, 2013

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