Prosecutors have said they will not file charges against Caitlyn Jenner, who according to deputies, had caused a deadly chain-reaction car accident in Malibu back in February.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the district attorney’s office determined that prosecutors will not be able to prove in court that Jenner was responsible for the crash.
So, they declined to file a misdemeanor manslaughter charge against Jenner.
Prosecutor Won’t File Criminal Charges
Prosecutors said Jenner applied the brakes less than two seconds before the crash and was driving slightly below the speed limit.
Prosecutor Patricia Wilkinson said, based on these facts, they would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jenner’s conduct was unreasonable.
This decision comes after sheriff’s detectives presented evidence to prosecutors in August showing that Jenner was reportedly driving at an unsafe speed during the crash, given the road conditions on that day.
Jenner was pulling a dune buggy on a trailer and suddenly slowed as vehicles in front stopped. Jenner’s Cadillac Escalade rear-ended Kim Howe’s Lexus sending it hurtling into oncoming traffic where it was struck by a Hummer. Howe, 69, died at the scene.
The drivers were not using cell phones at the time and Jenner was not distracted, investigators said.
Howe’s family has filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit Jenner alleging she was negligent and that her inattentive driving caused the deadly crash.
Rights of Car Accident Victims and Families
As Los Angeles car accident attorneys, we commonly see prosecutors hesitant to file charges in auto accident cases because the burden of proof in criminal cases rests squarely on the prosecution. To get a criminal conviction, prosecutors must prove negligence beyond a reasonable doubt.
However, that is not the case in civil lawsuits. In civil personal injury and wrongful death cases, the burden of proof is on plaintiffs.
But they only need to prove negligence through a preponderance of the evidence. If jurors are convinced that the defendant was negligent, he or she can be held liable for damages and losses sustained by the plaintiff.
So, often we see that in car accident cases, the civil justice system is the last resort for victims and their families to have their day in court and hold wrongdoers accountable.