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Go to Trial: Crash the Justice System
The New York Times ^ | Published: March 10, 2012 | MICHELLE ALEXANDER

Posted on 03/12/2012 4:12:39 PM PDT by MetaThought

More than 90 percent of criminal cases are never tried before a jury.

AFTER years as a civil rights lawyer, I rarely find myself speechless. But some questions a woman I know posed during a phone conversation one recent evening gave me pause: “What would happen if we organized thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people charged with crimes to refuse to play the game, to refuse to plea out? What if they all insisted on their Sixth Amendment right to trial? Couldn’t we bring the whole system to a halt just like that?” ...

I was stunned by Susan’s question about plea bargains because she — of all people — knows the risks involved in forcing prosecutors to make cases against people who have been charged with crimes. Could she be serious about organizing people, on a large scale, to refuse to plea-bargain when charged with a crime?

“Yes, I’m serious,” she flatly replied. ...

But in this era of mass incarceration — when our nation’s prison population has quintupled in a few decades partly as a result of the war on drugs and the “get tough” movement — these rights are, for the overwhelming majority of people hauled into courtrooms across America, theoretical. More than 90 percent of criminal cases are never tried before a jury. Most people charged with crimes forfeit their constitutional rights and plead guilty.

“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.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: jury; legal; plea; pleabargain
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1 posted on 03/12/2012 4:12:52 PM PDT by MetaThought
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To: MetaThought

The Occupy Wall Street freeloaders are going to tear this country down.

Why doesn’t anyone care? :(


2 posted on 03/12/2012 4:16:22 PM PDT by Tzimisce (this sucks)
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To: MetaThought

I’m surprised it hasn’t happened already.


3 posted on 03/12/2012 4:18:16 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: MetaThought

Let’s see... if you go to trial rather than plea-bargaining, especially if you might be found guilty, don’t you risk a higher penalty? Isn’t this essentially what the game theory people call “the prisoner’s dilemma?”


4 posted on 03/12/2012 4:18:31 PM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: MetaThought

Interesting thought.


5 posted on 03/12/2012 4:19:50 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: MetaThought
Of course the reason most people DON'T go to trial is because they are offered a deal. I suspect prosecutors would simply start seeking the maximum for everyone that insists on going to trial. By the way, this is only true for local and state courts. In Federal courts people usually beg for a deal.
6 posted on 03/12/2012 4:21:06 PM PDT by I cannot think of a name
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To: Pearls Before Swine

Yes. But, that is one of the reasons we have our such system. Go to trial and face your peers.


7 posted on 03/12/2012 4:21:35 PM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: MetaThought

I always thought it would be fun to see what would happen if eveyone when to the foodstamp office, welfare and all the other “free stuff” offices and applied, even if we did not need it.


8 posted on 03/12/2012 4:21:47 PM PDT by DirtyPigpen
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To: MetaThought

Works both ways, Obamahole libs.

Just wait....

It’ll be either that...

Or CW II.


9 posted on 03/12/2012 4:22:09 PM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: MetaThought

It’ll never work.

Self-interest always wins, particularly with the criminally self-interested. Nobody’s going to risk a much longer prison sentence on some feeble attempt to crash the system.

SnakeDoc


10 posted on 03/12/2012 4:23:02 PM PDT by SnakeDoctor ("I've shot people I like more for less." -- Raylan Givens)
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To: Pearls Before Swine

It’s the carrot/stick game and mostly stick. The state is out to make a buck off your hide and what includes setting up a system that actuaries have calculated will result in “X” number of failures just to justify through system of revolving doors.

Prison and ticketing are industries and someone gets paid at every level.


11 posted on 03/12/2012 4:24:16 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: Pearls Before Swine

Less if the movement were organized. A group funds the defense and gets a critical mass of people willing to go to trial. Carry the test case concept to the level of an organized challenge to the system. Pick a jurisdiction to focus on, and tear it down. Beyond that, provide for the basic needs of defendents and their families. One reason why they banned the flying wedge: it got results.


12 posted on 03/12/2012 4:24:16 PM PDT by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: MetaThought

If they would not plea down criminal acts, and would make criminals serve appropriate sentences, the criminal justice system could be a lot smaller, and consume much fewer resources trying the same criminals over and over and over again.


13 posted on 03/12/2012 4:25:10 PM PDT by RFEngineer
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To: MetaThought

Public Defenderes tried that before...a number of criminals were up on relatively minor charges, the defenders wanted them to go to trial and jam up the works...One of the first up decided to plead out and the judge gave him time already served and let him go...the rest jumped on board and plead out also...


14 posted on 03/12/2012 4:26:25 PM PDT by rolling_stone
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To: Tzimisce

The Occupy Wall Street freeloaders are going to tear this country down.

Why doesn’t anyone care? :(

They will care WTSHTF and the OWS SH!Theads and Obozo’s free sh!t army hit the streets wanting what is “Theirs”. Except within 300 or so yds of where I am at. Gonna get bloody but I have a big drainage ditch for their remains and a loader to bury them with. I haven’t forgotten the training!


15 posted on 03/12/2012 4:29:36 PM PDT by mongo141 (Revolution ver 2.0, just a matter of when, not a matter of if!)
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To: Pearls Before Swine
Let’s see... if you go to trial rather than plea-bargaining, especially if you might be found guilty, don’t you risk a higher penalty? Isn’t this essentially what the game theory people call “the prisoner’s dilemma?

Yes, the vast majority of these people are arrested for very good reason and accept a deal to reduce the odds of worse punishment with a jury trial.

Criminals all over the country are not going to unite to "crash the justice system". They couldn't care less about the system and only make these deals to save their own hides from a longer spell in jail/prison.

16 posted on 03/12/2012 4:30:28 PM PDT by Longbow1969
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To: DirtyPigpen
I always thought it would be fun to see what would happen if eveyone when to the foodstamp office, welfare and all the other “free stuff” offices and applied, even if we did not need it.

You have a right to a speedy trial, but not to speedy welfare. So you'd spend your time in line, and be denied, and the govt. employee who makes the determination would still get their check. What's the point, unless your time is worth less than that of the avg. welfare recipient and you're willing to waste yours to waste theirs?

On the other hand, people denied their right to a speedy trial can have their convictions overturned and indictments thrown out...

17 posted on 03/12/2012 4:35:25 PM PDT by Gunslingr3
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To: I cannot think of a name

Of those who take a plea deal, They take the deal because the prosecutor has them dead to rights, and a trail would get them significantly more prison time.

There is always the chance of a acquittal, but those are some pretty long odds.


18 posted on 03/12/2012 4:36:42 PM PDT by Ouderkirk (Democrats...the party of Slavery, Segregation, Sodomy, and Sedition)
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To: Longbow1969
'Criminals all over the country are not going to unite to "crash the justice system"'

Absurd. If ObamaCare is deemed 'Constitutional', this is a logical movement by a group of 'criminals' to fight back against the State. Anyone can be deemed a criminal by this organization called govt.

19 posted on 03/12/2012 4:37:27 PM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: MetaThought
Re: “Couldn’t we bring the whole system to a halt?”

There's actually a faster and lower risk way than demanding a jury trial.....

Keep your mouth shut.

Most of the people in jail either confessed to the police, or told easily checked lies to the police, or bragged to other criminals who testified against them, or talked to “trusted” friends or family who testified against them.

If a criminal has the self-discipline to continuously say, “I have no statement to make at this time,” his chance of staying out of jail instantly goes up to about 90%.

20 posted on 03/12/2012 4:37:43 PM PDT by zeestephen
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To: Tzimisce

You think it’s tearing down the country by telling people to insist on their constitutional right to a trial by jury? Interesting.


21 posted on 03/12/2012 4:45:50 PM PDT by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: MetaThought
Cloward–Piven strategy brought to a courtroom near you...

Regards,
GtG

22 posted on 03/12/2012 4:48:12 PM PDT by Gandalf_The_Gray (I live in my own little world, I like it 'cuz they know me here.)
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To: I cannot think of a name

Exactly
Here in polkcounty even the innocent are petrified to not plea. They threaten to throw the book at you
At 830 am Bartow court house haa people two deep wrapping around the building..


23 posted on 03/12/2012 4:49:11 PM PDT by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
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To: Pearls Before Swine
The “prisoner's dilemma” usually involves two suspects. The first one to rat out the other wins — the "ratee" gets a long sentence. If neither confess or “snitch”, they both walk (or close to it).

AFAIK, the police use this strategy frequently, to get petty drug dealers to finger their suppliers. Criminals, of course, have their own sanctions against snitching.

The problem with this type of plea (whereby someone else is fingered), is the incentive it provides for false accusations.

24 posted on 03/12/2012 4:51:18 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Ouderkirk

As a staunch conservative I must disagree. I live in the most corrupt county in florida. The absolutely do not cease and desist even when they have no basis for prosecution. I am desperately trying to get out.


25 posted on 03/12/2012 4:55:17 PM PDT by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
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To: I cannot think of a name
I disagree. The thesis is WHAT WOULD HAPPEN? If just 20% or 30% of those accused of a crime, particularly drug related crimes, demanded a speedy and fair trial by a jury of their peers, all chaos would break lose.

This has more to do with the massive amount of activities that are illegal in today's over regulated society. If a grown man or woman wants to ingest a intoxicating substance, what right does a supposed Free Society have against that? If a person wants to build a building on his own property, what right does the EPA have to tell them, NO this is a wet land.

26 posted on 03/12/2012 5:03:42 PM PDT by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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To: DuncanWaring

Actually, this *has* happened! It took a minimal number of those accused to drag the system into an dysfunctional torpor.

It started with a kook movement, I believe “sovereign citizens”, or someone like that. They knew that the government would eventually haul dozens of them into court, and put them in prison, so they agreed that not only would they demand trials, but they would also submit endless, frivolous motions written in an unintelligible way, to drag out each of their court hearings for years.

Within a few months, trial dates years in the future were being set, because the system could not handle even a few dozen such cases.

Importantly, for those of you who think that this is the sort of thing imbeciles like OWS would do, you are mistaken. This is a *reaction* to some pretty horrible abuses of the legal system by the government.

For example, forcing plea bargains on innocent people by threatening them with dire consequences if they are convicted by a jury. “Six months or life, your choice.”

Another thing, behind the scenes, is intentionally giving public defenders enormous workloads, so they cannot adequately defend their clients. Is a system fair that has 12 assistant prosecutors but only 3 public defenders?

Prosecutors and judges also demand “elocution”, confessions of guilt, under threat of severe sentences. This kills dead any chances for appeal, or to win a judgment for false prosecution.

Those who are convicted *cannot* refuse parole or probation so they may end their sentence as free persons. Instead they are usually forced into semi-slavery, in which unless they obey demands of their overseer, they can get sentences *beyond* their original sentence. In some cases, these probation officers are deeply corrupt, either forcing their charges back into a life of crime, or creating rules impossible to oblige, so they are sent back to prison.

Some judges can tell when a jury is likely to acquit, so they encourage some blatant act by the prosecutor so they can declare a mistrial, so the prosecutor can have a “do-over”. Likewise a judge has wide latitude to decide that even if a jury is 11-1 for acquittal, that the case can be retried.

So don’t feel bad if somebody eventually throws a monkey wrench into the machine. Perhaps some good will come of it. Or at least something better than what we have to endure now.

“You enter the court a pig. You exit as sausage.”


27 posted on 03/12/2012 5:06:54 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: zeestephen
Good Point. Like I always tell my wife and kids: Don't talk to the police, they are NOT your friends.

If a policeman comes to the door and asks if he can ask some questions, say “NO, I do not talk to the police!”

If the police stop or detain you, ask ‘Am I under Arrest?” if they say ‘NO’; say ‘than I assume that I am free to go” If they say “NO’ Tell them ‘Arrest me, or let me go”
if arrested SAYNOTHING AND ASK FOR AN ATTORNEY!

If you DO commit a crime: Do it yourself, don't tell anybody, EVER! and always Deny, deny, deny,

No get me a lawyer.

28 posted on 03/12/2012 5:11:09 PM PDT by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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To: Gunslingr3
True on all points. However I was only making a point that we all have a right to apply for the various types of aid just like we have a right to a speedy trial. When the aid is applied for they have to proccess the application. Thus, making them work for that paycheck and maybe gumming up the works for a while.

Its petty, mean and vindictive I guess, oh well.

29 posted on 03/12/2012 5:15:36 PM PDT by DirtyPigpen
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To: DirtyPigpen
In an economy with close to 20% real unemployment, to delay the needs of the truly poor is NOT a kind thing to do. That is not to say that the system isn't abused, but I would think that the vast majority of the 40% increase in the people on public assistance are there BECAUSE of the policies of this government.
30 posted on 03/12/2012 5:20:56 PM PDT by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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To: SnakeDoctor

This would be a classic case of the “Prisoners Dilemma “.....


31 posted on 03/12/2012 5:22:20 PM PDT by Kozak ("It's not an Election it's a Restraining Order" .....PJ O'Rourke)
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To: MetaThought

Judges will react by stiffening bail requirements and making the protestors wait out the backlog in county jail.


32 posted on 03/12/2012 5:25:11 PM PDT by samtheman
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To: MetaThought

Go the jury trial route. It is your right. I hope you are paying for the ride and not the taxpayer


33 posted on 03/12/2012 5:42:13 PM PDT by Figment
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To: SnakeDoctor
Self-interest always wins, particularly with the criminally self-interested.

True criminals commit malum in se crimes, things like murder, rape and robbery that are evil in and of themselves.

Nowadays a large portion of crimes are malum prohibitum crimes, things that are illegal not because they are immoral, but because there is a law against them.

If everybody quit paying income taxes and demanded a jury trial, the federal government would go belly-up in a year.

34 posted on 03/12/2012 5:48:02 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the sociopaths.)
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To: saganite
You think it’s tearing down the country by telling people to insist on their constitutional right to a trial by jury? Interesting.

If that is really what you're taking away from what I said, we are even more screwed than I originally thought.
35 posted on 03/12/2012 6:14:40 PM PDT by Tzimisce (this sucks)
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To: Tzimisce

In the context of the article and your response that is exactly what I took away from your post. If you choose to make your thoughts more lucid perhaps we can gain some real insight into your true thinking.


36 posted on 03/12/2012 6:35:16 PM PDT by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: Donnafrflorida
Only after one of Grady's internet stings...LOL.

Not sure I understand your “even the innocent are petrified to not plea” statement.
I don't see a lot of local law abiding citizens being caught up in trumped up false charges around here.

I do notice a breathtaking number of out of area criminals finding out Polk County isn't quite the dumb hick town they thought it was, when they decided to set up operations....

37 posted on 03/12/2012 6:42:49 PM PDT by sarasmom ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xZsFe6dM3EY)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

Do you also live in Polk County or perhaps the state of Louisiana?


38 posted on 03/12/2012 7:08:05 PM PDT by robowombat
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To: samtheman
Not something you ever want to do in Orleans Parish. Criminal Sheriff (yes that is what they call them in the Pelican State, the unconscious humor of the title tends to irritate locals if the obvious is pointed out.) Gussman and his predecessor Charles Foti preside over a Dantesque stew that would appall the penologists of Honduras.
39 posted on 03/12/2012 7:13:57 PM PDT by robowombat
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA
The “prisoner's dilemma” usually involves two suspects. The first one to rat out the other wins — the "ratee" gets a long sentence. If neither confess or “snitch”, they both walk (or close to it).

Yeah, I know that's the full statement of the "minimax" problem. Either suspect does best if they don't snitch first, but they can't trust each other or communicate, so that isn't their best choice.

Still, the situation here with an overcharged sentence, an overcharging but overburdened attorney, and a suspect in the middle is somewhat reminiscent of the classic problem. Besides, I got in a pun with "prisoner's dilemma," didn't I?

40 posted on 03/12/2012 7:18:54 PM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: sarasmom

where do i begin.

2006 daughter bathing one grand child while other napped in family room. my young son failed to completely close front door. two yr old grandaughter got outside. police called. police offer did not arrest her. hrs dcf came out and interviewed neighbors etc. found NO case For child neglect. My daughter had no criminal record. Had a job and was attending college. 8 months later i was awaken by police who handcuffed my daughter from her bedroom ( while in sponge bob slippers). wouldnt let me bail her out. apparently no bail on this charge until you appear in front of judge. when bailed out she was banned from coming home. i had to care for grandkids. 3000.00 later for attorney along with 22 notarized character letters we were told if we fought it they Would pursue max charge of feloney. prison time for year or more we were told. guess what? she plead to lesser defense. her life was ruined as far as getting law enforcement job which is what she wanted.

if these children where in danger why did officer on site and dcf not pursue. why wait over 8 months to arrest a mother in the middle of yhe night leaving her children behind? this is case 1. I will send the next in ainute.


41 posted on 03/12/2012 7:37:27 PM PDT by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
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To: MetaThought

Might be more useful to start widely informing the general public about the concept of “jury nullification” actually.

Funny the trial lawyer didn’t mention that.

/s


42 posted on 03/12/2012 7:40:54 PM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network ("The door is open" PALIN 2012)
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To: sarasmom

case 2. i am a single parent. 25 yr old son and 17 year old son get into shoving match. older son calls police to teach him a lesson. officer arrives younger son ran off. the report goes to state attorney for review. they charge younger son with aggravated battery. a felony. older son calls then writes then calls then writes..state attorney explaining that this was blown out of proportion. we kept being dragged to court over and over w plea offers. we said hell no this time we are going to trial. the day of jury selection and again 3000 dollars for attorney fees charges were finally dropped. this is case 2. case 3 will be coming shortly


43 posted on 03/12/2012 7:46:44 PM PDT by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
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To: MetaThought

What would happen if everyone demanded a trial? Most would sit in jail for several years before seeing a courtroom for a trial.


44 posted on 03/12/2012 7:49:25 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: MetaThought

Alinsky, anyone?


45 posted on 03/12/2012 7:50:22 PM PDT by AZLiberty (Reading Righteous Indignation so I can be Andrew Breitbart)
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To: sarasmom

a few months back my adopted son atended a part. he is 28. everyone was drinking beer. he fell asleep. a neighbor attending the party left and promptly hit, actually smashed, into a light pole around the corner. all from party run out to see what happened. neighbor kid runs from scene. my sleeping son awakes to discover everyone gone and goes out and sees everyone in street. police show up. by the time i get there i am adbised ny officer thay yhry are arresting my son. i asked the officer why they were not looking for the owner of the truck. he told me, and i quote, SOMEBODYS going to jail tonigjt and yhe owner of the truck aint here. really!???? the nexy day yhe kid who hit the pole admitted he was driving. guess what?
the charged him and my son. how can this be? charging two people for driving the same truck into the same light pole?
oh now they dropped that one and said he “tried to move the vehicle” really?? OMG.
again i said hell no we go to trial.
he gets public defender. he picks out a jury.
night begore trial he tells me they charged him with two counts of something..... and guess what??? there is going to be two trials. two separate jury trials!!!!!!!
we get to court. he had seven witnesses to testify it wasnt him. guess what the prosecutor had? nada. no witnesses no officer. we were told both charges were being dropped. we all burst out crying. i asked the PD. how did it get this far???? he told me the state attorneys office didnt have the resources to investigate cases UNTIL just before trial. WTF???
they had time for all the appearances and selecting a jury though.


46 posted on 03/12/2012 8:06:01 PM PDT by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
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To: sarasmom

last case.
my youngest son was across the street. he was 7 days from his 21st birthday. he was drinking a beer. my neighbor runs over and tells me they are aresting him. he was not causing a disturbance. not drunk. not driving. yes i know he should not have been drinking.
however when i ran up the street the guy in black told me that if i could tell him of anyone that migjt be selling drugs. that they would let him go. i said i was just cutting coupons. NO! i dont know any drug dealers. They arrested him.
p.s. i voted for grady judge. believe it or not i have a great deal of respect for officers. i voted for bondi. It’s just something smells to high heaven here. something is radically wrong.


47 posted on 03/12/2012 8:16:07 PM PDT by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
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To: Donnafrflorida

The entire legal system is an anachronism. Legislative procedures are an anachronism. Courtrooms are an anachronism.

We keep electing lawyers and they keep legislating more power into the legal system that is a relic of the 18th century. However, lawyers continue to thrive at the expense of the taxpayer.


48 posted on 03/12/2012 11:08:39 PM PDT by JmyBryan
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To: Donnafrflorida

Avoid calling the cops at all cost.

Unless your being attacked by a pack of AIDs infected pit bulls, avoid bringing in government agents into the mix.


49 posted on 03/12/2012 11:15:26 PM PDT by dragnet2 (Diversion and evasion are tools of deceit)
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To: JmyBryan
The entire legal system is an anachronism. Legislative procedures are an anachronism. Courtrooms are an anachronism.

You bet and ya seem more cash registers in your local courts today, than ya see at the local Walmart.

Stay far away from the legal machine at all costs. It cuts people to pieces.

50 posted on 03/12/2012 11:24:19 PM PDT by dragnet2 (Diversion and evasion are tools of deceit)
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