Plea Bargaining Posts

Innocent Defendants Plead Guilty to Avoid Longer Prison Sentences After Trial

Are Innocent People Pleading Guilty? A New Report Says Yes: (“Defendants in federal cases face life changing choices once they have been charged, plead guilty and take a less severe penalty, or exercise their right to a trial and risk years (decades) in prison.  It is no wonder that some have pondered whether innocent people are pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit. * * * A new paper published by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) “The Trial Penalty: The Sixth Amendment Right to Trial on the Verge of Extinction and How to Save It.”  We may not know every amendment to the Constitution, but we all embrace the fact that in the U.S. everyone is entitled to a fair trial by a jury of our peers.  However, going to trial can be a gamble with one’s life.  One conclusion reached by the NACDL was that ‘[t]here is ample evidence that federal criminal defendants are being coerced to plead guilty because the penalty for exercising their constitutional rights is simply too high to risk.’“)