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Guilty by Suspicion: Peruto Probe is a Cautionary Tale

Prominent criminal defense lawyer A. Charles Peruto, Jr. has reportedly sent a letter to Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams calling for a “speedy conclusion” to a grand jury investigation into the death of his paralegal, Julia Law. She was allegedly found face down in the bathtub of Peruto’s Rittenhouse Square apartment last May with a blood-alcohol level of .40, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. In the letter, Peruto reportedly cited the damage to his reputation the grand jury’s investigation has caused and the monetary losses his firm has suffered as a result. Even though he’s been accused of no crime, the mere mention of his name in the matter may have caused irreparable harm. My clients often suffer the same consequences, and it illustrates a much larger point: an accusation, even an intimated one, may cause permanent injuries to earning potential and public standing. Combating a pointed finger requires just as vigorous a defense as fending off formal charges.

Gavel  - Guilty by Suspicion: Peruto Probe is a Cautionary Tale

Public Perception is a Daily Battle

Authorities have reportedly told Peruto that he is not a subject of the investigation. They’re reportedly only focused on the circumstances surrounding Julia Law’s death. That fact has not stopped the rumor mill from spinning with unfounded allegations and baseless accusations all ending up to create an image that has reportedly cause the man’s defense law firm millions in potential revenue. This daily perception battle mirrors the problems I see my own clients go through on social media; from the abandonment of close friends and family to anonymous people posting hateful messages or accusatory comments on their profile pages. The ruination of a once pristine reputation can often be just as painful as the judicial process. Some never fully recover despite their legal teams winning acquittals or getting the charges against them dismissed.

The Grand Jury Process is not Swift

Where those charged with criminal offenses have the rights to due process and a speedy trial, a grand jury affords no such privileges. These investigations are known for their methodical, often plodding nature chewing up months and whole years before they reach a final conclusion on a given matter. In the meantime, those involved or connected to the proceedings have nothing to do but stew in their own impatience and endure the growing public outcry. It’s not remotely fair to them, but that’s the imperfect system we’ve got. It’s the worst possible kind of limbo. In Peruto’s case, there’s the grief over the loss of a loved one coupled with the uncertainty surrounding her death and the willful slowness of authorities. The tactics have the air of some sort of punishment even though there’s a distinct absence of accusation or formal charges. Imagine losing someone close to you, only to have the silence of authorities as to the cause of that person’s death cast a judgmental cloud over every aspect of your life. As a famous playwright once scribbled, “Something is rotten in Demark.”

If you, or someone you love, is facing criminal charges, you need experienced defense attorneys backing you to see your rights are upheld. By the time the jury enters the courtroom, it’s too late to consider an aggressive defense. Call our law offices today for an instant consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys — day or night. Jailhouse visits also possible.

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