Seeing this story was very exciting to me, as it seems that for too long law enforcement has taken complaints from victims and pursued them, which often results in charges being filed against an individual. Most of the time, I find that I am representing the person charged as his or her criminal defense attorney, but today, in what is generally considered to be an unpopular action, law enforcement in Williamson County filed charges against someone for falsely reporting an offense.
The reported story may be read on the KEYE website here or on one of several other Austin-area news stations. But, to summarize the story,
a woman who was experiencing car problems pulled over on Highway 29 west of Ronald Reagan Blvd. Police then say a suspect pulled behind the woman offering her help around 8:30p.m. The individual sexually assaulted her at the location.
The complaining victim was arrested for false report on this past Friday. Detective John Foster of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office would not provide details about the matter, and this story is available for further review, here.
The reason that I congratulate Williamson County for this action is that too often people call the police and then back out of the charge later. Meaning, they complain about someone’s action, get the person arrested, and then change their mind. Most often, this is in domestic violence / assault with bodily injury cases involving family violence. Too often, there are unwritten policies in place not to pursue charges against these complaining witnesses because law enforcement or prosecutors do not want to prevent people for calling for help out of fear of prosecution if they later change their story.
But, I must say, if you are not going to stand behind your testimony, do not cause someone the stress and anxiety of being arrested, jailed, and prosecuted, not to mention the thousands of dollars wasted in defending that matter. Hence, one more time, Good Job, Wilco!