While plea bargains are quite common in many criminal cases in South Carolina, they are not as common when it comes to murder charges. This means a full investigation must take place to provide evidence for the prosecution to use at trial. However, many murder cases do not make it this far because law enforcement never finds a suspect to charge.
NPR explains that there are many things working against law enforcement trying to investigate a murder. Here is a look at three factors that lead to the high number of unsolved murders in the United States.
- Prosecutors have too high standards
Going to trial, especially for a murder case, is very expensive and time-consuming. Overworked prosecutors would much rather have a case given to them that they can easily take to a plea bargain. This means having excellent evidence with a high probability of conviction. Meeting these standards is tough for law enforcement, so many cases remain unsolved or without charges because of a lack of strong evidence.
- Untrusting communities
The relationship between law enforcement and the public is not always the best. In many communities, there is no trust for law enforcement, which leads to having no one willing to come forward as a witness or provide evidence. Without the cooperation of the community, law enforcement cannot solve some murders.
- Lack of evidence
It takes a lot of manpower and time to investigate a murder. High crime areas stretch law enforcement too thinly, which means they do not have the time to gather evidence. Often, they cannot afford to run a full investigation. Strained resources mean some murders will never have closure.
When a murder case does make it to trial, these factors can still largely affect the ability of the prosecution to get a conviction. After all, this is a serious charge that requires strong evidence, and if it is lacking, then a conviction is not appropriate.