Mock Trials   Leave a comment

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
The Sugar Act of April 5, 1764, entrusted military courts–the courts of admiralty and vice-admiralty–with enforcing all acts of the British Parliament pertaining to commerce and related revenues. In 1768, the British government, partly in an effort to suppress smuggling, increased the number of these courts. All trials by such courts were conducted without juries. Americans regarded trial by jury as a necessary protection to the rights of individuals against the abuse of power by government. It meant that before the coercive power of government could be brought to bear against a man, it had to be approved by a body of men, most likely his neighbors, who are not government employees.

Most of us were raised with the idea that in the United States of America, we are innocent until proven guilty and that we are owed a trial by a jury of our peers who approach the case fairly.

If you believe that, I have a pipeline in Alaska I’d like to sell to you … cheap.

Prosecutors enjoy a 98% “win” ratio. Most of their “wins” never actually go to court. People plea bargain before getting there. A number of cases have emerged from the Innocence Project showing that people sometimes plead guilty even though they didn’t commit the crime — DNA later proved someone else committed the crime. Why would you plead guilty to a crime you didn’t commit? Because your public defender, who works for the same state government the prosecutor works for, told you that it would be less time in jail if you didn’t fight the charge and convinced you that you would definitely be found guilty because you couldn’t prove that you didn’t do the crime.

If you do choose to go to trial, your public defender works for the same government as the prosecutor and so does the judge, so ….

Yeah … there’s no such thing as a fair trial if you can’t afford your own attorney.

George Zimmerman in courtAnd, even if you can — we all saw the Zimmerman case. In case you think you just imagined it — you didn’t. They prosecuted him on a charge that they couldn’t prove. That’s not unusual. A retired judge here in Alaska told me (several years ago now) that it is standard procedure for prosecutors to charge one step higher for any felony charge, so that when the defendant plea bargains (as 96% of them do) they will actually plead guilty  to what the prosecution believes they could prove in a court of law. Alaska has “also included charges”. So, if you’re charged with 1st degree murder, but actually guilty of manslaughter — two steps below Murder One — you have a compelling reason to accept the 2nd degree murder plea the prosecutor offers.  Since more than 50% of cases are represented by public defenders now, it’s a good strategy for incarcerating people for a very long time without any chance that they will appeal. You can’t appeal if you plea out and you’ll plea out if you’re scared enough — especially if you know you’re guilty of a lesser charge. Back when the judge was telling me this, most juries were biased in favor of the prosecution. I think that’s changing now, but many other examples where our American system of “justice” is anything but just and very much the opposite of a presumption of innocence.

That’s not King Obama’s fault, by the way, folks! When you’re pointing your fingers, please note the three pointing back at you. We’re all guilty of allowing this travesty to develop.

Posted July 27, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in History, Tyranny

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