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The Justice System Depends On Plea Bargains

It is not difficult to perceive why this should be so. After all, the typical person accused of a crime combines a troubled past with limited resources: he thus recognizes that, even if he is innocent, his chances of mounting an effective defense at trial may be modest at best. If his lawyer can obtain a plea bargain that will reduce his likely time in prison, he may find it “rational” to take the plea.

(a segment from “Why Innocent People Plead Guilty”, Jed S. Rakoff)

You should really go and read the whole essay from The New York Review of Books.  Mr. Rakoff has been a prosecutor, a defense attorney, and is currently a judge.  He offers some constructive solutions.

Being a believer in the rule of law and due process, and understanding law enforcement doesn’t always arrest the actual perpetrator, I have concerns about such a system.  The Innocence Project (among others) has shown many folks arrested are cajoled/convinced/badgered into pleading guilty for a lesser sentence – even when they are not guilty of anything!  As the police state agenda advances, I suspect his will continue.


About guffaw1952

I'm a child of the 50's. libertarian, now medically-retired. I've been a certified firearms trainer, a private investigator, and worked for a major credit card company for almost 22 years. I am a proud NRA Life Member. I am a limited-government, free-market capitalist, who believes in the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law.


6 thoughts on “The Justice System Depends On Plea Bargains

  1. And that, folks, is one of the major reasons I am against the death penalty.
    The Innocence Project has cleared a frankly HORRIFYING number of innocent people on death row.

    On a theoretical level I can agree that some people deserve death for their crimes, BUT I cannot think of a single government that currently exists or has EVER existed that I would trust with such a tool. The power to deprive its citizens of their lives is a bridge too far for me.

    One only needs to look at those ISIS clowns to see that executions are political theatre, designed to intimidate and subjugate.

    Posted by Tomi | November 18, 2014, 7:55 am
    • That’s the ONLY reason I am against it. The government runs it – how efficient and just can it be?
      OTOH, if the case if not about questionable testimony, or tainted evidence, or lost DNA, but the defendant is prima facie GUILTY of a heinous, despicable act.
      (like that couple who tortured their 3 year old to death)
      Then, bring it on!
      (Yeah, I know, it’s complicated!)

      Posted by guffaw1952 | November 18, 2014, 8:06 am
      • It should be complicated.
        I used to be pro death penalty. Then I heard of the large number of cases that had bogus convictions as noted above.
        The only time I support it now is if the accused says in court, “Yeah, I did it. I killed them and I’d do it again…and if you let me live or let me go I’m going to kill every person I can until I die.”
        (there was a child rapist/murderer who actually did this. I would have no problem pushing the RX’s to off him)

        Putting down a mad dog dressed as a human is OK. The state killing someone because the prosecutor or judge is lazy or doesn’t like their family tree is NOT OK.
        Removing the blanket immunity from prosecutors and judges would stop a lot of this.

        Posted by KM | November 18, 2014, 9:57 am
      • “Removing the blanket immunity from prosecutors and judges would stop a lot of this.


        Posted by guffaw1952 | November 18, 2014, 10:19 am
  2. If even half of people charged with a crime insisted on a jury trial the whole system would collapse.

    Posted by WellSeasonedFool | November 18, 2014, 12:23 pm

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"Round up the usual suspects."

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