[lbo-talk] free Paris?

Mr. WD mister.wd at gmail.com
Thu May 10 09:58:53 PDT 2007

Frankly, the reason most criminal defendants plead guilty is because they are guilty -- or at least the evidence against them is so overwhelming they're virtually guaranteed to be convicted at trial. The old saying amongst criminal defense attorneys is "God help you if you have an innocent client" because it hurts a hell of a lot more to get an unfavorable outcome in a case where your guy is innocent than if you're merely asserting a guilty defendant's procedural rights.

To be sure, there is plenty of abuse of the plea bargaining system by Prosecutors -- much more than most establishment observers of the American legal system would care to admit. Nevertheless, it is beyond naive to think (and I am not suggesting that you do, Doug) that a substantial proportion of the people in jail, prison, or who are on probation/parole are actually innocent. A far larger proportion of convictions in the United States are obtained by violating defendants' constitutional rights (e.g. unlawful searches and seizures, ineffective assistance of counsel, improperly obtained confessions, etc.).


On 5/9/07, Doug Henwood <dhenwood at panix.com> wrote:
> On May 9, 2007, at 5:22 PM, Dennis Claxton wrote:
> > Personally, I'd rather see her wearing a signboard out in front of
> > one of the clubs she frequents, but I haven't given it much more
> > thought than that. I was in favor of freeing Martha Stewart though.
> Martha was a victim of the federal practice of trying to trap people
> into lying to a federal agent just to jail them, even if they weren't
> necessarily guilty of a crime in the first place. That's really
> sleazy and outrageous.
> By the way, I saw some stats recently about how few cases actually go
> to trial now (at the state/local level as well as the federal).
> Defendants are threatened with long prison terms and encouraged to
> agree to a plea bargain, which nets them just a few years behind
> bars. Anyone see these? I can't recover them...
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