Trials 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.’“)

Former NY State Assembly Speaker Convicted for Second Time

Sheldon Silver Is Convicted in Second Corruption Trial: “Sheldon Silver, the former powerful Democratic speaker of the New York State Assembly, was found guilty of federal corruption charges on Friday, less than a year after his first conviction on the same charges was thrown out.”

Too “Woke” for the Jury Box?

How Movement Moments Complicate Jury Selection: (“Constitutional law requires that jurors be impartial. They must fairly evaluate evidence and wait until the end of the trial to decide on a defendant’s guilt in a criminal case. That’s easier said than done, especially of late.”)

Police Officer Who Killed Walter Scott Gets 20 Years in Federal Prison

Michael Slager, Officer in Walter Scott Shooting, Gets 20-Year Sentence: (“Michael T. Slager, the white police officer whose video-recorded killing of an unarmed black motorist in North Charleston, S.C., starkly illustrated the turmoil over racial bias in American policing, was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in prison, after the judge in the case said he viewed the shooting as a murder.”)

Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio Guilty of Contempt

Former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Found Guilty of Criminal Contempt (“Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s own words were the linchpin in the case against him, his quotes cited more than 20 times in a federal judge’s ruling that found him guilty of criminal contempt of court.”)