This week, the DA in Manhattan dismissed all criminal charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the IMF and French politician who enjoyed international notoriety when he was arrested this May on an Air France jet for allegedly sexually assaulting a Manhattan hotel housekeeper.
The decision to dismiss the charges comes as no surprise. Glaring credibility problems with the complaining witness – among them – she has brought phony rape charges in the past – took the wind out of the sales of the prosecution. But what does strike me is the DA’s explanation. The Manhattan DA emphasized its office policy of not trying a case unless the district attorney him or herself is convinced of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Not all district attorney’s offices practice this policy. By law, they don’t have to. They need only show probable cause in order to hold someone over for a felony. But, if you were the district attorney, would you want to prosecute someone when you weren’t convinced of their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?