Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Thoughts On Our Criminal "Justice" System

I received this e-mail in response to the story below. It really is a comment on the state of our system in general:

"This is all a result of a system that is designed for pleas, in which 2% of cases go to trial. Therefore, prosecutors are judged on conviction rates and on percentage of nolle pross's and other nonsense like that. They should be judged on whether they act honorably and thoughtfully on what they do and don't prosecute. It is further the result of this country's CYA mentality. No one wants to be on the O'Reilly factor. Therefore, cops make arrests they don't really agree with and pass it up the chain, hoping the State will do the right thing. The State files and pursues the case, while making a decent plea offer to the innocent Defendant, because they have to "back up the officer". The judges deny motions to suppress and other defense applications, because there is never any political capital to be gained in siding with a Defendant. The underfunded and overworked lawyer pleas the client out, or he just might lose to a jury of citizens who assume that a guy couldn't be arrested, filed on, and have a Judge allow a trial, if he is actually... innocent.

Its all capped off by a PCA from the District Court of Appeals, if they are too busy to write an opinion on that particular case.

I, for one, personally think that the only way to combat this trend is for more defendants, and their attorneys, to be willing to go trial. If we can raise the percentage of cases that go to trial then more nonsense gets exposed and the judges will encourage the State to not waste their time and clog their docket.... instead of leaning on us."


Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com