Criminal Justice: Improbable Cause

Although a policeman may arrest any one whom he has "reasonable grounds to believe" committed a specific crime, a prosecutor is not supposed to bring charges unless he has "probable cause" to believe that the suspect is guilty. In short, is the evidence gathered by the police probably strong enough to try and convict the defendant?

The question came up with a vengeance in Darien, Conn., last November, after police raided the apartment of Michael Smith, 20, the troubled youth who brought the town a fame of sorts a year ago when he got drunk at a debutante party and accidentally...

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