"In response to the loss, Miami Heat stars didn't discount the possibility of joining the Indiana Pacers next year. 'If they beat us, then we should play there because we don't like losing' said a Heat player requesting anonymity."
CRASH THE JUSTICE SYSTEM.
What if everyone rejected a plea and demanded a trial? That was the premise of this op-ed piece in the NY Times this past Sunday:
“The truth is that government officials have deliberately engineered the system to assure that the jury trial system established by the Constitution is seldom used,” said Timothy Lynch, director of the criminal justice project at the libertarian Cato Institute. In other words: the system is rigged.
In the race to incarcerate, politicians champion stiff sentences for nearly all crimes, including harsh mandatory minimum sentences and three-strikes laws; the result is a dramatic power shift, from judges to prosecutors...
(Rumpole notes: we've been screaming about this for years. The implementation of minimum mandatory takes the sentencing decision away from the (supposed) fairest and wisest person in a courtroom (the judge) and places it in the hands of a prosecutor- some younger than 25- who are merely players advancing their own cause and institutional interests in an adversarial system. )
Take the case of Erma Faye Stewart, a single African-American mother of two who was arrested at age 30 in a drug sweep in Hearne, Tex., in 2000. In jail, with no one to care for her two young children, she began to panic. Though she maintained her innocence, her court-appointed lawyer told her to plead guilty, since the prosecutor offered probation. Ms. Stewart spent a month in jail, and then relented to a plea. She was sentenced to 10 years’ probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. Then her real punishment began: upon her release, Ms. Stewart was saddled with a felony record; she was destitute, barred from food stamps and evicted from public housing. Once they were homeless, Ms. Stewart’s children were taken away and placed in foster care. In the end, she lost everything even though she took the deal.
Rumpole notes: these repercussions happen every day in a justice system geared to use the weight of the government and fear of life altering sentences to coerce pleas. Any person who spends any time in any criminal court can hardly say that pleas are mostly fair deals that are in the best interests of the client. It's a broken system that is now only good at breaking people.
See You In Court.