Message from discussion "Just open this page...."
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From: "Keith F. Lynch" <k...@KeithLynch.net>
Subject: Re: "Just open this page...."
Date: Tue, 15 May 2012 01:20:38 +0000 (UTC)
Organization: United Individualist
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> OTOH the system doesn't need to be racist to be badly flawed.
Indeed. There are plenty of evils other than racism. Hitler wouldn't
have been a better person had he treated all gentiles exactly as badly
as he treated Jews.
> I'm in agreement with Keith that the system, while not originally
> designed to be so, has effectively become a mechanism for generating
> convictions at minimum cost with guilt or innocence being of
> secondary concern.
I'm not sure it was ever otherwise. The techniques used to convict
the innocent were already ancient when they were used during the Salem
witch trials. It would be nice to think there was a golden age when
government worked as it's described in US civics books. But I don't
believe it. It wasn't Obama, Bush, or even Nixon who enacted the
notorious Alien and Sedition Act, it was Adams.
> The coercion placed on defendants to plea and waive jury trial
> combined with the enormous cost of good representation, especially
> in non-capital cases, means that most cases are not a matter of
> guilt or innocence but what level of punishment the defendant is
> willing to accept.
What bugs me the most about plea bargains is the utter hypocricy.
The defendant is required to state that he's doing it because he
really is guilty and that he's not being coerced. And everyone knows
that's false. (Unless the state-appointed lawyer has been especially
effective in befuddling a naive defendant.) But if he truthfully
states that he's innocent and is being coerced, the judge will almost
certainly refuse the plea bargain and subject the defendant to a trial
at which, if he's found guilty, he's sure to receive a much harsher
sentence. (Some defendants really are guilty, of course, but with
rare exceptions that's never why they *plead* guilty.)
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.