Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk: No "Reasonable Belief" of Convicting Mark Mitchell
|Mark Mitchell, free man.|
Aside from the "absence of a reasonable belief of probable conviction," Polk also notes Mitchell's age at the time and the probability that he would've been tried as a juvenile.
The sexual-abuse allegations against Mitchell -- initially reported to Phoenix police -- was forwarded to the Yavapai County Attorney's Office since Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery had publicly supported Michael Monti, Mitchell's opponent in the mayoral race.
Mitchell's accuser claimed the incidents occurred in 1983 -- when she was 10, and Mitchell was 13 or 14 -- and she just brought it up to the cops a couple months ago.
The only evidence, Polk notes, would be statements from the individuals involved, and neither the woman's mother nor brother could corroborate her stories, even though she recalled her accounts pretty specifically.
Polk also says that the "motive" of the woman coming forward would be challenged.
According to the police report, the woman "expressed that this has been eating at her for years and it has gotten worse lately due to the public exposure of Mitchell at this time as he is a current Tempe City Councilman who is a mayoral candidate for the City of Tempe."
According to Polk, "The victim states she was prompted to report to authorities the events occurring in 1983 during an unrelated investigation involving sexual abuse of the victim's minor child."
Polk says that although the woman was involved with authorities from the beginning of the investigation of the alleged abuse of her child, she still waited almost another year to bring up the allegations against Mitchell.
The investigation into her kid started in May 2011, while she told police her claims about Mitchell in February 2012.
As for the law aspect, the criminal code in 1983 said kids under the age of 14 weren't "criminally responsible" unless they knew what they were doing was wrong, so prosecutors would have to prove Mitchell knew what he was doing was wrong almost 30 years ago.
If this had been brought up in 1983, Polk writes, it's likely the case would've been heard in juvenile court, and if convicted, Mitchell probably would've been on probation until he was 18 -- which is kind of out of the question now.
"While there may be situations wherein an adult should -- and can -- be prosecuted for criminal conduct committed thirty years ago while under the age of eighteen, this is not such a case," Polk says.
You can read the letter in its entirety below:
Mitchell Decline Letter