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NEWS: Thousands Wrongly Convicted Each Year

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posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 09:38 AM
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Thousands of people are wrongly convicted each year because of a malfunctioning legal system, reports the American Bar Association. "All too often, defendants plead guilty, even if they are innocent, without really understanding their legal rights" states the study, scheduled for release Friday. Lawyers in the South often "negotiate a plea agreement the first day they meet their clients." Elsewhere, indigent clients are jailed for months without access to a lawyer or are improperly pressured by prosecutors "to accept plea deals without a lawyer present."

 



www.usatoday.com
Thousands of suspects unable to afford lawyers are wrongly convicted each year because they are pressured to accept guilty pleas or have incompetent attorneys, the American Bar Association says in a report.

The study by a committee of the nation's largest lawyers' group says that legal representation of indigents is in "a state of crisis." These defendants are at constant risk of wrongful conviction and unjust punishment, including the death penalty, according to the study being released Friday.

"The fundamental right to a lawyer that Americans assume apply to everyone accused of criminal conduct effectively does not exist in practice for countless people across the United States," the study states. "All too often, defendants plead guilty, even if they are innocent, without really understanding their legal rights."

In the South, the report cited a problem of "meet 'em and plead 'em lawyers" where lawyers in states such as Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia often negotiate a plea agreement the first day they meet their clients.

In Texas, Rhode Island and elsewhere, legal experts reported incdances where indigent clients languished in jail for months without access to a lawyer or were improperly urged by prosecutors to accept plea deals without a lawyer present.

More than 150 people who were convicted in 31 states and the District of Columbia served a total of 1,800 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. All were exonerated due to DNA evidence.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Injustice is common and tragedy is not unusual. The system needs an overhaul and an infusion of money to fix it says the American Bar Association (ABA). Unfortunately, there is no money. The US is carrying a national debt of $7.7 trillion dollars and daily interest payments top $2.2 billion.

All of the recommendations put forward by the ABA require special budget allocations.

It is interesting to note that the political will and budget were found to create the Anti-Class Action legislation and system to protect corporate rights. One wonders if the same resources are in place to protect individual American's civil liberties.



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posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 10:43 AM
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It's good to see that many are being exonerated due to DNA evidence, etc. But when it comes to pleading a case out, it requires the approval of the accused. Too often they are threatened with stiffer penalties if they pursue the case and lose, compared with relatively softer penalties if they accept a plea. That is why so many people plead out.

I was unjustly accused of a relatively minor offense years ago. I insisted on a jury trial. The lawyers and even the judge tried everything to get me to plead. I stood fast. The not guilty verdict came in less than ten minutes. The lawyers said they had never seen a verdict returned so quickly.

Had I plead out, I would have received six months continued without a finding. But I was not about to have this on my record.

IMO. courts should be made to hold session nights and weekends to accomodate the general public. And I'd look into adopting professional juries.



posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 11:29 AM
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Originally posted by jsobecky

I was unjustly accused of a relatively minor offense years ago. I insisted on a jury trial. ...
Had I plead out, I would have received six months continued without a finding. But I was not about to have this on my record.

IMO. courts should be made to hold session nights and weekends to accomodate the general public. And I'd look into adopting professional juries.





Good for you jsobecky.

IMO - this study barely shows the tip of the iceberg - think they focused on serious crime.

I was looking at the jury system about 3 1/2 years ago - the evidence showed there was a strong movement to dismantle it. Haven't followed up since.

...But juries of "peers" is one of the foundations of our democracy. If that goes, what have we got left?



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posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 11:45 AM
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Yesterday in Oklahoma, it was releadsed to the public that 7 people were released from death row, in the last year, because of DNA evidence, several of whom spent more than five years in prison. Of course the question that came to my mind within a second of hearing this, was, " how many innocent people have we killed"?
Oklahoma is second only, to Texas in executing people, but Bush say with uncertainity that Texas never executed an innocent man while he was Govenor.

LIke most people, I would like to take vengence on the person who killed a loved one of mine, but I wouldn't want society to do it for me. I'd rather think better of society.



posted on Feb, 23 2005 @ 12:04 PM
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Originally posted by kazi

Yesterday in Oklahoma, it was releadsed to the public that 7 people were released from death row, in the last year, because of DNA evidence, several of whom spent more than five years in prison. Of course the question that came to my mind within a second of hearing this, was, " how many innocent people have we killed"?





Wow. That's scary. ...I suspect a lot more innocent people than we know have been wrongly killed or imprisoned.


...Now it seems to be getting worse - and punishments like sterilization are getting added to the mix again... The whole "genetics" and "eugenics" thing is way wrong - nothing but misunderstood and misrepresented science.


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