The Manteca Police Department was searching for a man that was wanted on a child molestation warrant for months before finally receiving information last week on the man’s whereabouts.
Karl Halyday, 61, was taken into custody by detectives on April 27 – more than four months after the police first put out his photograph and details about his crimes with the hopes that the community would be able help lead officers to his location.
Halyday was taken into custody in the area of Two Rivers and Division Roads without incident and booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on charges of molestation of a minor under the age of 10 years old, and two counts of harmful matter sent to a minor with the intent to arouse.
But his stay at the San Joaquin County Jail would be short-lived.
According to the Manteca Police, Halyday was released from custody after the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office failed to pursue the charges – something that prompted the police to issue an update to the story just a day after thanking the public for their help in locating the man.
According to the public Facebook post that Manteca Police issued outlining what happened, detectives interviewed parties associated with the case and then took that information to a judge for a Ramey warrant – securing probable cause from a magistrate to arrest somebody for a crime.
That process bypasses the district attorney’s office, which usually files charges that allow officers to make an arrest in a case where probable cause exists.
While the result wasn’t what investigators had hoped for, Manteca Police said that they “respect the process” even if it didn’t result in a successful prosecution.
“We stand by our Detective’s decision to prepare a Ramey Warrant for Halyday and are disappointed that we could not see the case progress further, but we fully respect the process,” the Manteca Police wrote in the announcement. “It should also be noted that the Detective sought a Judge’s review before proceeding with an arrest.
“A Judge reviewed the case and agreed that probable cause existed. An officer can make an arrest on a felony without a warrant, but the Detective chose to take the extra step to confirm the probable cause though a Judge.”
While probable cause to believe a crime was committed is the burden that officers need in order to arrest a suspect, that same burden does not apply in a court of law – where a defendant must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order for a conviction to stand.
While officers believed that they had met the burden to arrest Halyday, it appears that the burden for a conviction may have required more. They are hoping that notifying the public about the criminal justice process will eliminate any frustrations that they may have had about the result of the case.
“We understand that this can be frustrating, but we’d like to point out that this is actually a good thing,” the release said. “The way our judicial system is set up, bringing a case before the court requires multiple levels of review and an increase in the burden that must be met to secure a conviction. This process limits the possibility of convicting the innocent and helps guarantee the public’s faith in the judicial system.
“In some respects, it’s more important to free the innocent from suspicion than it is to prosecute the guilty.”
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.