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North Carolina criminal defense: officer accused of manslaughter

Manslaughter cases that involve police officers in the role of the accused can draw a significant amount of attention, both in North Carolina and across the country. It can often seem difficult for a police officer accused of voluntary manslaughter to receive a fair trial in the wake of such high media exposure. This can make the preparation of such a criminal defense especially critical, considering the high stakes involved for the law enforcement official.

One North Carolina police officer is now facing voluntary manslaughter charges in the wake of a car accident which led to the alleged victim knocking on a woman's door. That woman called police, believing that someone was attempting to break into her home. When police arrived on the scene, they reported issued verbal commands to the alleged victim, who supposedly ignored them. The alleged victim advanced on the police officers, one of whom fired several shots at the man and fatally wounded him.

This case is particularly interesting because North Carolina officials moved so quickly to charge the officer with manslaughter. Typically, investigations are conducted in a deliberate fashion -- some may say that they proceed too slowly. In this case, however, it may seem the opposite: that it is been rushed too quickly. Some believe this may have to do in part with the intense interest in the Trayvon Martin case. That trial resulted in the accused neighborhood watch member who shot Martin being acquitted.

No matter the high amount of media interest in this particular criminal defense case, it is important to remember that all individuals are considered innocent until and only if proven guilty in a court of law. This holds just as true for police officers as it does more ordinary citizens. The prosecution has a high burden of proof to overcome, and this police officer would do well to fully understand all of his options as he prepared to defend himself against the charges.

Source:, Groups criticize NC officer arrest in man's death, Mitch Weiss, Oct. 12, 2013

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