I am a common-sense kind of person so I am trying to understand what the plea deal was intended to be, if it is working or if something else could work better. My understanding is that a plea deal is necessary because the court system could never handle all the cases if trials were necessary. Agreed. My understanding is that a plea deal keeps people accountable that want to admit guilt and as a reward, the criminal justice system offers a reduction in penalty. If handled well, that can be accomplished.
In my case offering a plea deal is devastating because I am innocent but being asked to admit I am a criminal.
What about people that are simply addicted to drugs/alcohol, incompetent, or mentally ill people that are given a plea deal? Do you think that they are competent to make a good decision about their future? There are so many public defenders that have to negotiate for defendants with few alternatives so the real problem never gets addressed. This approach feeds recidivism.
I understand that a plea deal is considered a win for prosecutors and that is what he/she is often evaluated on to succeed in their careers. A prosecutor on my case bragged to a potential witness that he won 98% of his cases. Why is the prosecutor bragging? Do you think that 98% of the time the defendant was guilty? A prosecutor isn’t reviewed for the standard of justice that was served, but for convictions. Who can blame a prosecutor for wanting to do the best job they can, but that appears to substantially measured on convictions, not justice. How can we change that? How can we make justice the goal to elevate a prosecutor through their career?
Defendants shouldn’t feel forced to plead to something or else they will be treated unfairly. Reality is that if you don’t plead guilty then, more charges could be coming your way. I saw it happen in my case to other defendants.
There were moments from the case that are etched in my memory. Profound statements I will always carry with me. The Judge said in open court (direct from the transcript), “IN ORDER TO IN ANY WAY SAVE YOURSELF NOW IN THE CRIMINAL PROCESS, YOU CAN’T RELY ON A JUDGE AND JURY YOU HAVE TO MAKE SOME ACCOMMODATIONS WITH THE GOVERNMENT AND PLEAD GUILTY BECAUSE THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT PLEADING GUILTY ARE SO PROFOUND THAT IT’S NOT WORTH THE RISK.”
There was complete silence in the Courtroom.
We all had to have time to soak in that wisdom.
These are the statements that no one in that Courtroom could forget or have a response to.
The words were directed at the prosecutor. Those words to a large extent defined the essence of my case and the opinion of an independent thinking, well thought of Judge. Yet, the Judge chose to announce them to the world as if to remove all doubt. I took a deep breath. Maybe everything was going to be alright. Hope was still alive.
Every time I got some hope like those amazing words from the Judge about the prosecutors, I could stand a little straighter. I often felt defeated, but I had to keep getting up and those words made me rise in a way that few others could accomplish.
I became so focused on the case, fighting for what I believe in, that I had to let other things in my life go. Those “things” were far less meaningful than the value I had originally placed on them. I had to question why I had made time for some of them anyway. There were so many more important issues that I could spend my time on, but it took this case for me to realize that. I knew I was filled with purpose but I didn’t act on it in a meaningful way, often and consistently. That, I vowed would change when this case was over.
I wanted to share some of my insights regarding the criminal justice system with my friends, family, and colleagues. It was always such a mixed bag to do that. Some people believed you. Some people didn’t. Some had the opinion that the Government wouldn’t have charged me if I didn’t do anything wrong. They were obviously not open to thinking any other way. I never knew that about “them” and found it very unattractive. It separated us. We can disagree over many things, but justice can’t be one of them.
Have you ever told a friend they are fired and why you came to that decision?