People v. Simmons, Bronx County
Hearing on probable cause to arrest Mr. Simmons. Probable cause is enough evidence for a reasonable person to believe it's likely that a defendant committed the crime charged. It is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge found no probable cause; we won!
Mr. Simmons was charged with murdering his father. Surveillance video showed a shadowy figure of unknown gender or race climbing up to the second floor of a two-story building, pushing a window A/C unit in and entering the building. The figure left through the front door shortly thereafter. A person was shown walking up a block near the murder scene, nonchalantly, shortly after the murder. That person was not intoxicated and did not appear to have any weapon on him. No gun has been recovered.
When the police arrived approximately an hour after the murder was discovered by a cousin, the father was found shot in the back of the head, execution style, twice. He was found to be sitting at a desk. Until the police moved the body the death was attributed to drugs.
We argued that there was no connection between the shadowy figure seen on the surveillance video and the supposed defendant walking up the block approximately two blocks from the scene of the crime. We also showed that defendant was unarmed. After my argument the judge dismissed the murder charges and released Mr. Simmons from Rikers. This is a very rare occurrence.
But, stay tuned. The prosecutor called me and said that Mr. Skinner had been indicted for murder! We’ll see what happens.