How Much Should A 5 7 12 Year Old Weigh Plea Bargains – No Bargain For Anyone?

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Plea Bargains – No Bargain For Anyone?

Apology payments. A good deal for someone who is guilty?

A good deal for the state as plea deals avoid an expensive trial?

Here are some apologetic deals offered versus actual phrases measured in what I’ve become personally aware of. Omit the surnames of those mentioned.

Albert – sexual assault; he was offered a plea deal of reducing the felony to a misdemeanor, no sex offender treatment mandated, no annual sex offender registration, and 4 to 6 months in prison. He refused, saying: “I am not guilty.” After 2 trials, (the jury in the first trial-l0 for innocent; 2 undecided), the second jury convicted him and he was sentenced to 7-1/2 to 15 years.

Michael, sexual assault; he was offered a 1-year deal with the stipulation that he had to complete sex offender treatment. He refused, went to trial, and served 2 consecutive sentences of 3-1/2-7 years, (ie a possibility of 15 years, total).

Charles, sexual assault; it was proposed 2-6 years as a deal. He refused, claiming innocence; he was convicted and sentenced to 7-1/2 to 15 years plus 6-12 years, suspended, if good behavior under the first sentence.

Are these plea deals fair to the accused? Are they fair to the victim? Are they fair to the public?

In New Hampshire, case law governs plea bargains. “… (They) have been openly recognized as a proper part of the criminal process since 1970, although they have existed … since time immemorial.” (State vs. Manoly., 1970) This is also the case in almost all other states.

Pleas and plea bargains are used by defendants and prosecutors. For what?

Obviously, if a plea can be satisfactorily negotiated, the expense of a trial can be avoided.

If the crime has traumatized a victim, a trial sometimes exacerbates the trauma. Some victims refuse to testify, or fear the thought of facing their perpetrator again. Think – if you have been brutally raped, or beaten, or terrorized for hours, pistol whipped, etc., how do you feel going through a process for hours or days, seeing the person who offended you? Can you face the incessant questioning by lawyers, about the incident, about your personal life – and with the public they are looking for – with the possibility of details in the newspaper and on TV?

So, are you thankful that a plea deal was made, and that the person who committed the crime will be punished without any involvement from you?

Or, on the other hand: What if you were willing to testify against this person and you want to see him receive the full penalty under the law, and then the state offered a plea bargain? What if this sentence could have been 10 to 20 years if he had been convicted by a jury, and the plea bargain was 2 to 4 years? Do you feel cheated? Would the public feel deceived, thinking that this person should have had the full weight of the law applied, and should not have been able to receive a shorter sentence just for being guilty?

In anticipation of this article, I asked an inmate at the Concord Men’s Prison how he felt about the plea deals. (He had refused one in his case, and had been sentenced to triple the plea bargain.) He said: “You will be punished for exercising your right to a trial, if you are offered a plea bargain of 2 years, and they say. you who will get up to 20 years if you lose at your trial.” In other words, “If you insist that you have a right to trial, we will convict you and give you twice, three times, etc. more years in prison than if you take our offer.”

Atty. Michael Skibbie, former head of the Public Defender’s Office in Concord. NH, said the following to a legislative committee:

“Most cases in this country and in New Hampshire are resolved by plea, not by trial. Nationally 80 or 90% of felony cases are resolved by plea.” “Less than 10% of the felony cases we (Public Defender) handle actually go to a jury trial.”

He went on to explain why that happens, including the difficulty of trying to predict how a jury will react to the evidence, the defendant and the alleged victim. He said, “I’ve won cases I was sure I was going to lose, and I’ve lost cases I was sure I was going to win. And the most experienced criminal defense attorneys would tell you the same.” And prosecutors could say the same. “Obviously, both sides take a risk when they go to trial.”

I mentioned above that settling a case by plea bargain avoids huge expenses. Atty. Skibbie also stated that plea bargains free the court from a monumental backlog of cases. Imagine if 90% of the crime cases were negotiated now and that stops! If you think the court system is clogged now with backlogged cases, (which it is), think what it would be like with 9 times as many cases!

He also commented on the justification of the prosecution of higher sentences if the accused insisted on a trial and was later convicted. One reason is the effect the trial has on victims and other civilian witnesses. Similarly, the defendant’s lawyer is motivated to negotiate an argument such as “… which typically will be either a modification of the charges, a recognition of a sentence that the defendant will perceive as something better than he or she would later. try, you two.” He said that in cases of sex, there are additional factors for both sides to motivate the negotiation.

“First, from the perspective of the prosecutor, these cases are associated with greater uncertainty…” “They are hard cases for both sides. Even when the prosecutors receive a conviction, the reversion rate is higher than any other cases”. From the defense side, “The sentences on conviction, after the trial, are very, very high. If you are a 20-year-old male, and you face potentially 20 years in prison if you lose this trial, there are many people. who think it’s the end of their life – to be in their 40s.”

Referring to the difficulties of the victim who has to talk about embarrassing and private matters during sexual offense trials, he said: “But on the other hand, there is probably nothing that is more difficult (for the accused) to admit in a public courtroom than a court. sexual offense”, (in the case of a plea bargain).

Another major factor in sexual assault cases is the potential for the accused to have to register every year for the rest of his life as a sex offender. If the prosecuting attorney offers a plea agreement that also includes this provision, many defendants agonize over accepting the plea. Some say “no”, preferring to take their chances with the process. This “registration aspect” is unique to sex offenders. If you rob a bank, brutally assault someone, kidnap a child, or even keep the police “at bay” with an assault rifle, you can “cop a plea” and when you have served your time, and are released, ” “through” the system. There is no annual registration at the police station and there is no easy way for the public to find out that you have been imprisoned for committing a crime.

If you move to a different community or state, you can become virtually anonymous regarding your criminal past.

Do you accept a plea deal? Would it be an easy decision for you? Atty. Skibbie put it quite succinctly: In a plea bargain, “you’re talking about 5 years in prison versus 10 years in prison—or 7 years in prison versus 20 years in prison.”

“It’s very, very difficult to make a decision to go to prison, even for a relatively very short period of time.”

What if you are innocent? Say they offer you two years as a deal, with a possible 20 if you lose in the process. Do you forget that you are innocent, and accept the prayer, because you heard that justice is not always fair, and you can be wrongly convicted?

I’ll leave you with two more cases – current cases in New Hampshire. These are direct quotes from convicts.

(one) “I have been a prisoner…since 1995. The day my trial began, I was offered a 4-year deal….the deal was only on the table until the victim took the stand. Because I was innocent, I went to trial…” “I was convicted on 7 of the 12 counts. The judge sentenced me to 18-1/2 to 37 years, with 14 to 28 years defer more. I can conceivably serve a maximum of 65 years.” “If I was guilty, I would have easily taken the plea, completed the sex offender (treatment) program, and as of today, I will be back in the community.”

(other) “The prosecutor offered me a sentence of 5 years in prison … (as an apology).” “I refused … knowing my innocence (and) … wanted to remove my name (at the trial). “On January 30, I was found guilty.” “The judge sentenced me to 33-1 /2 to 67 years”.

It is difficult to comment on these specific cases unless one has read more about those cases. But these are all examples of our plea bargain system. That the state could offer such a small sentence under a plea, and then hand down such a long sentence if the case went to trial,

Is a crime less heinous because the perpetrator agrees to a plea deal? If the prosecutor is certain that the defendant is guilty, is he doing a disservice to society by offering that offender a very light sentence versus a much stiffer sentence after conviction by a jury?

The plea bargain system is really an interesting aspect of criminal justice, and one, I think, that can never really be fair to everyone or even understood.

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