Jenn was charged with two felony counts of obstructing justice. Will the Woodstock P.D. make the charges stick?
What does the statute say?
(720 ILCS 5/31-4)
(from Ch. 38, par. 31-4)
A person obstructs justice when, with intent to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution or defense of any person, he knowingly commits any of the following acts:
(a) Destroys, alters, conceals or disguises physical evidence, plants false evidence, furnishes false information; or
(b) Induces a witness having knowledge material to the subject at issue to leave the State or conceal himself; or
(c) Possessing knowledge material to the subject at issue, he leaves the State or conceals himself.
(1) Obstructing justice is a Class 4 felony, except
I wondered from the start whether the charges would stick. Will they?
Or does the case fall apart in the first sentence on the statute? "A person obstructs justice when, with intent to prevent the apprehension ... of any person..."
No person has been identified even as a person of interest, much less a suspect. Woodstock PD continues to classify this case as a Missing Person case, not as a crime. So, who is the "any person" whose apprehension has been interfered with?
The statute continues, "A person obstructs justice when, with intent to ... obstruct the prosecution ... of any person..."
Does the PD know something about which it has not informed the public? Has someone been charged in the missing person case of Beth Bentley? Is "any person" being prosecuted?
The statute continues, "A person obstructs justice when, with intent to ... obstruct the ... defense of any person..."
Again, has someone been charged and therefore is in need of defense?
If those conditions aren't met, you don't even have to read further in the statute, do you?
I'm not defending Jenn. Personally, I think she knows a great deal more about the circumstances surrounding Beth's disappearance than she has told. But do the police have the right charges here?
If not, this should not become a four-year ordeal like the Hoeft case in Huntley. If these are the wrong charges, then change them now.