Prosecutorial Intimidation Subverts Criminal Justice System
Prosecutorial Intimidation Subverts Criminal Justice System by John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.
An opinion piece in a recent New York Times SundayReview raises an issue that goes to the heart of the criminal justice system as it plays out in our current society. It asks where the justice is in a system that coerces most people accused of crime into accepting plea deals over jury trials.
According to the author, over 90% of criminal cases are never heard by juries. That means that over 90% of the accused cede their constitutional rights to trial by jury to accept plea deals. These plea deals are often portrayed by prosecutors as easy ways out of facing far more onerous outcomes if the accused insists on trial by jury. That means that the peoples’ power to determine the facts of all these cases and to decide the fate of the accused has been taken away by a system more interested in incarceration than justice.
I would also ask where the justice is in a system that replaces due process and the presumption of innocence with what amounts to backroom kangaroo courts run by prosecutors. Prosecutors represent the State. The power to determine guilt beyond a reasonable doubt belongs to the people.
The author also points out that the court system would collapse if everyone accused of crime insisted on jury trials. There wouldn’t be enough money and judges to handle the flood of trials that would result.
Maybe that’s what we need to open people’s eyes to a system of “justice” that fills prisons with minor offenders who could be better dealt with in community based programs.
The US has about 5% of the world’s population and almost 25% of the world’s prisoners. We also have a growing corporate prison industry that thrives on incarcerating as many people as possible and keeping them in lock up while they profit at the taxpayers expense.
This whole situation smells.
See my blog post about jury nullification, another way for the people to exercise their rights as citizen jurors to correct injustice.