In reality, very rarely do prosecutors obtain guilty pleas nor do many cases ever make it far enough for trial. Cases that make it trial are very costly and time-consuming; not just to the state prosecuting the case but also the defendant.
More often than not, prosecutors make a plea offer to which the defendant accepts. There are all sorts of pleas that a defendant may be offered that do not include a plea of guilty -- but this most certainly does not mean they weren't guilty of the crimes they were accused of.
A judge may set aside the conviction. This means that the person does NOT have to plead guilty; instead, they're put on probation for a certain period of time and as long as they don't violate their probation terms and get arrested for any reason during this time, the case will be dismissed. This does NOT mean they weren't guilty. Often, courts will offer this to someone who does not have a serious criminal record or if they believe the defendant will likely NOT commit this same crime again.
An elderly cat hoarder may be offered a plea deal which includes mental health counseling, surrendering all the seized animals, being banned from owning animals during this probation period (or possibly only allowed to have a small, set number of pets) and an offer to dismiss the charges as long as she completes her probation requirements. These charges, although ultimately dismissed, will still be on record and the details of the case can be seen by law enforcement and prosecutors so if she is caught again, they will not be so lenient and will demand a guilty plea and harsher punishments.
That's not to say that some of the people charged with animal cruelty do in fact have a true defense and the charges are rightfully dismissed. Or the charges may be dismissed on a technicality.
Although I'm certain Lynn Andrews continues to deny she was abusing or neglecting her animals, the truth of the matter is Lynn Andrews was not exonerated and proclaimed "innocent" of animal cruelty and/or animal neglect. The case was dismissed because of a technicality regarding the legal definition of "Designated Agent".
Back in April 2016, Amy Person and Scott Moxham were each charged with 17 counts of animal cruelty. Amy Person recently posted on Facebook the claim that:
"Amy C Person I just went through the same bullshit , all charges where dropped $6000 later . Had animals for 40 years some asshole gets pissed and they show up on a day after 2-1/2 inches of rain and arrest for horses in a muddy paddock ! Bullshit DA laughed at them , vet gave every animal on the property total clean bill of health"
I think a lot of people think that simply feeding an animal is sufficient when humane living conditions are required as well. A woman may feed her children sufficiently, but if they are living in a flea-infested home, walking around on feces and trash-covered floors, and sleeping in beds with bedbugs she is going to be charged with child neglect. It's not just about handing your kid a PB&J regularly.
|Amy Person and Scott Moxham's animals|