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ACLU report chronicles thousands of lives ruined by life sentences for crimes such as shoplifting or possession of a crack pipe.
At about 12.40pm on 2 January 1996, Timothy Jackson took a jacket from the Maison Blanche department store in New Orleans, draped it over his arm, and walked out of the store without paying for it. When he was accosted by a security guard, Jackson said: “I just needed another jacket, man.”
A few months later Jackson was convicted of shoplifting and sent to Angola prison in Louisiana. That was 16 years ago. Today he is still incarcerated in Angola, and will stay there for the rest of his natural life having been condemned to die in jail. All for the theft of a jacket, worth $159.
Jackson, 53, is one of 3,281 prisoners in America serving life sentences with no chance of parole for non-violent crimes. Some, like him, were given the most extreme punishment short of execution for shoplifting; one was condemned to die in prison for siphoning petrol from a truck; another for stealing tools from a tool shed; yet another for attempting to cash a stolen cheque.
Something needs to be done to avoid such absurdities. Paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep somebody, who tried to steal a 159-dollar jacket, away from the society...
Paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep somebody, who tried to steal a 159-dollar jacket, away from the society...
Plea bargains are ridiculous and do the most harm to everyone except the ones making all the money.
Prisons don't rehabilate anyone. Everyone who goes to prison is just cattle once they get there. Hardly in consideration for the different types of offenders. The system doest encourage productive members of society once they served their time.
“I am much older and I have learned a lot about myself,” Jackson wrote to the ACLU from that cell. “I am sorry for the crime that I did, and I am a changed man.”
reply to post by SasquatchHunter
not to mention how angry people who actually make it out of prison become,generally even more detached from society.....
its not just the legal system that need an overhaul it is society as a whole......it would seem that life for the cattle these days is geared toward a major upheaval....the rich sit back and laugh while the world as we know it goes to hell
The purpose of plea bargains is to avoid lengthy crimal trials. 90% of cases are decided by plea bargains there's never any evidence presented or witness present. Its a win for the D.A. and a pass for the Public defender.
The police know this they can stack on numerous bogus charges knowing that the chances are the person will just take a plea bargain. This is how people end up with felonies on 3 strike laws.
So you are a poor person that got busted say shoplifting. Then the officer that arrested decided you were resisting arrest when you back talked or something. Tacked that charge on.
On the flip side serious offenders accused of sex crimes murder armed robbery etc. They can take a plea bargain and serve a much lighter sentence if guilty. The rich can hire lawyers to fight these charges tooth and nail and either force a plea bargain or get the case thrown out.
Prison doesn't help non violent criminals it breeds violent criminals.
The poor more than likely arent going to post bail.
After the arraignment. At some point after an arraignment you will show up to plead guilty not guilty. At this point you may be offered a plea bargain especially in misdemeanor cases, your not likely to have a pretrial in misdemeanor cases. In felony cases their may be requests on either side for a pre trial.
The evidence is overwhelming against the defendant because in most situations all anyone is going off of by this point is the officers report.
The judge isn't considering elements of a case, your giving up your rights and pleading guilty in a plea bargain.
Some may get lucky and get the volunteer attorney or the ethical attorney who wants to do everything they can to help a complete stranger for little to no gain for themselves.
Washington insisted at trial that the jerseys were reduced in a sale to $45 each – which meant that their combined value was below the $100 needed to classify the theft as a felony; the prosecution disagreed, claiming they were on sale for $60 each, thus surpassing the $100 felony minimum and opening him up to a sentence of life without parole.
n. 1) a crime sufficiently serious to be punishable by death or a term in state or federal prison, as distinguished from a misdemeanor which is only punishable by confinement to county or local jail and/or a fine. 2) a crime carrying a minimum term of one year or more in state prison, since a year or less can be served in county jail. However, a sentence upon conviction for a felony may sometimes be less than one year at the discretion of the judge and within limits set by statute. Felonies are sometimes referred to as "high crimes" as described in the U.S. Constitution.
n. a lesser crime punishable by a fine and/or county jail time for up to one year. Misdemeanors are distinguished from felonies, which can be punished by a state prison term. They are tried in the lowest local court such as municipal, police or justice courts. Typical misdemeanors include: petty theft, disturbing the peace, simple assault and battery, drunk driving without injury to others, drunkenness in public, various traffic violations, public nuisances and some crimes which can be charged either as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances and the discretion of the District Attorney. "High crimes and misdemeanors" referred to in the U.S. Constitution are felonies.