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Miracle Or Technicality? Derrr, Technicality.


A wheelchair-bound victim claims it was a "divine miracle" that saved her attacker-slash-husband from being sent to jail for socking her in the mouth.

Welcome to police work in the high desert. Some of us just can't wait until those COPS episodes filmed in Boise this summer finally get broadcast.

Well, more accurately, this particular incident happened an hour away in Ontario, Oregon, but the story still bears retelling. Charges of assault and harassment were dropped against Joseph Barneycastle, 52, on November 1, according to a story in the Ontario Argus Observer. Barneycastle was arrested on September 3 after his wife, 60-year-old Lillian Franz, reportedly told police that Barneycastle had struck her in the face. Franz's feet were amputated earlier this year after she was severely burned in a forest fire, but on this particular evening, she also had blood flowing from her mouth to her chest, according to the police report cited in the article. Officers took Barneycastle in, but apparently forgot to check the box on the arrest report identifying the mental state of the suspect. The choices on Oregon forms are "intentional," "knowing," "reckless," "criminal negligence" and "no culpable mental state." Without that link in the arrest report, the Malheur D.A.'s case was on shaky ground--which wasn't helped by the fact that both Franz and Barneycastle insist now that he never struck her.

"Why do they have to go through all this? He's been innocent the whole time," Franz told the paper, adding that she was "praying" that prosecutors do not refile the case. However, because the oversight was a technicality, charges can be refiled against Barneycastle and probably will, according to the Malheur D.A.'s office.