In our last series of posts, we looked at the case of former NFL cheerleader Molly Shattuck, who was recently sentenced for fourth-degree sexual assault in Delaware. As we noted, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger had said that he was considering pursuing charges against Shattuck for alleged illegal activity here in Maryland.
It turns out that Shellenberger’s office will in fact not be pursuing charges against Shattuck in Maryland. The public announcement stated, quite simply, that after careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, it has been decided to no charges will be pursued.
It isn’t clear in this case whether the decision not to prosecute was a matter of discretion or if the evidence in support of the allegations was weak. It is entirely possible that prosecutors looked at Shattuck’s conviction and sentence out in Delaware, and decided that pursuing charges in Maryland was unnecessary for Shattuck to pay her dues back to society. Without knowing the specifics of the case, it is hard to say exactly why the decision was made.
In criminal defense work, getting an experienced defense attorney involved as early on in the process as possible is important for helping to give a defendant a strong position in his or her case. If the case against a defendant is strong, early advocacy work can ensure that there is enough time to build a thorough case. When the case is weak, early defense work can stop a case from proceeding further than it should. In either scenario, the benefit to a defendant can be significant.