My own personal observation: Among the many sad consequences of this is that we are no longer producing great criminal defense lawyers. Because it almost never makes sense to risk taking a case to trial (even for the innocent), young lawyers get experience in plea negotiation, not trial skills. And so, even if you want to go to trial, the pool of talent to defend you is drying up.
^ And all of this is precisely the reason I’m in school to become a criminal defense attorney.
While I agree that the excerpt is disturbing (and one more reason we desperately need criminal justice reform in this country), Jeff’s observation with respect to lawyers is incorrect. My experience has been the exact opposite, actually. I’m in my 2nd year of law school and I couldn’t even tell you what the procedure is in my County for filing a plea bargain right now. But I can write a mean motion to suppress evidence on the basis of an unreasonable search and seizure incident to detainment as defined by Robinson v. United States and Whren v. United States (if you get arrested you’re basically fucked because everything’s admissible under Robinson since the Conservatives on the Court basically shit all over probable cause when a search is incident to an arrest. But searches incident to temporary detainment are still subject to probable cause standards).
The D.A.’s I’ve talked to say that Pleas Bargains exist because it’s impossible for the D.A’s office to bring every major criminal charge to trial. Believe it or not, most of the time they’ve actually got solid evidence since our criminal justice system tends to breed an underclass of apathetic repeat defenders. But most D.A.’s don’t have the resources to bring every case to trial. So even when the case is open and shut, they’ll talk to the defense attorney (often the Public Defender in the case of repeat offenders), and cut a deal to avoid a trial. Most offenders take the plea bargain because they know they’ll lose if their case goes to trial. So most plea bargains actually happen due to the intersection of 1) compelling evidence of guilt, and 2) lack of resources (including human resources) in the D.A.’s office.
There are two options to fix this, of course: increase funding (and thus taxes) to D.A.’s and Public Defenders, or, you can, in a word: Decriminalize. The lack of resources in D.A.’s offices might have something to do with the fact that we continue to wage war on non-violent Drug Offenders. Everytime we criminalize human behavior, we increase the aggregate caseload of every D.A. in the country. Ending the Drug War and moving to harm-prevention policies would not only save us a ton of money, but it would reduce the burden on both Public Defenders and D.A.’s significantly enough to allow them to actually, you know, do justice, instead of the half-assed system we have now.
- andheheldthestarsinhishands likes this
- letterstomycountry reblogged this from statehate
- vexme likes this
- dxo likes this
- statehate reblogged this from jeffmiller
- statehate likes this
- existenceandidentity reblogged this from laliberty
- whakahekeheke likes this
- luigimonstre reblogged this from jeffmiller
- vouyacratiquementsocratique reblogged this from jeffmiller
- garytheduck2 reblogged this from jeffmiller
- dendroica likes this
- moorewr likes this
- gonzodave likes this
- This was featured in #Politics
- laliberty reblogged this from jeffmiller
- jeffmiller posted this