The civil suit came first, which was an interesting phenomenon. Most times, the criminal case to go forward, then the civil case rests on the conviction of the criminal. But, maybe there wasn’t a case strong enough, and that’s where standard of proof comes in, but more about that later.
Nonetheless, J. Scott Callahan was retained as counsel for McDonald. Callahan practices law from Bedford, Indiana, and he graduated from the Indiana University Mauer School of Law in 1988; his website says he practices in the areas of personal injury, wrongful death, criminal defense and family law, a fairly wide gambit.
As for the civil coming before the criminal, we asked for legal opinions behind the scenes, and we came up with, well, it is all about this: the “standard of proof.”
In our own minds, we make up an assessment of whether or not we believe this person is guilty of X; however, that is not how our court systems work, nor is a definition of how our two very different court systems work: civil vs. criminal.
The “standard of proof” is much different for civil verses criminal cases. In a civil case, plaintiffs simply need to convince a judge or jury by “a preponderance of evidence” that their case is stronger, meaning that the judge or jury have decided that it is “more likely than not” that what the plaintiff says is true.
In a criminal case, the state has a much higher standard of proof. To gain a conviction in a criminal case, the state must convince a judge or jury that the defendant is guilty of a crime “beyond a reasonable doubt” although they do get some reasonable accommodations to do so, such as the prosecutor getting last word in any case.
Then, as this article was being originally written, Greene County’s criminal court filed a motion, a separate suit, which went straight to a special prosecutor being filed, and like several other recent Linton Police Officer snafus, Stanley Levco was appointed.
Levco isn’t a light-weight by any means, but a seasoned prosecutor. He is currently prosecuting other former Linton Police Officers, including Joseph Riley, Adam King who appears to be nearing on a plea agreement, and former Linton reserve officer Indiana “Indy” Miller.
So, to be clear, there is now a civil and criminal suit against McDonald.
This story will be expanded as new information becomes available….