On March 16, 2005, a California jury acquitted Robert Blake of murdering Bonny Lee Bakley. Blake is best known for his Emmy Award-winning portrayal of Tony Baretta in the hit TV series Beretta. By most accounts, Blake’s arrest and subsequent trial for murdering his wife Bonnie was a Hollywood-style sensationalized production. The verdict was not guilty, and Blake walked.
While some argue the jury got the acquittal verdict wrong, there would be no escaping the consequences of a civil suit. Blake lost a civil case that found he caused his wife’s death. Bonny’s family and a team led by an effective wrongful death lawyer won a 10-2 jury finding.
Wrongful Death Isn’t Guilty
Civil case wins are some of the outcomes that attorneys like Robert J. DeBry & Associates make happen. Wrongful injuries and even death can result from negligence and other reasons. While a settlement can never replace a loved one, a skilled wrongful death lawyer can secure a monetary award.
Criminal Law Versus Civil Law
With sensationalized trials, differences between criminal and civil law get mixed up in the popular opinion of wrong versus right. Many people see the words “not guilty” as the same as not responsible. Bonny Bakley’s family found out differently as a jury found Blake caused the death. The attorneys at Robert J. DeBry & Associates can explain the differences. However, it comes down to knowing the different burdens of proof in both types of law.
A civil case has no “beyond a reasonable doubt” condition. A wrongful death lawyer understands how to present a majority opinion. The jury awarded Bakley’s children $30 million for damages. The jury in the civil case awarded the money based on wrongful death law, which can be confusing. On appeal, a judge cut the award to $15 million. Blake then applied for bankruptcy, which added another layer to his financial obligations and shortcomings.
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