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  #1  
Old 06-03-2017, 10:46 AM
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Default Plea Bargains

What are you feelings on plea bargains? How many of your loved ones are actually innocent but took a plea bargain out of fear of losing and doing a tremendous amount of time behind bars or coercion for something they didn't do?
Any insight, stories,resources, ideas about the sometimes corrupt system would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance
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Old 06-03-2017, 11:15 AM
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Welcome to PTO, Ms Anne.

If you dig around the forum a bit, you'll find that this topic is one of the most recurrent themes we've discussed and debated about over the years.

My own two cents: for those who are really guilty of their crimes (the vast majority of offenders, I suspect) and willing to take responsibility and start making amends for those they have hurt, plea bargains are a great option to help mitigate the consequences of our actions without forcing our victims go endure the rigors of trial and cross-examination that can be painful for all sides to experience.

But on the same token, they have also been used as a weapon by prosecutors to scare defendants against taking their cases to trial, even when they are innocent, since they make it widely known that if you do dare take your case to trial you will often times be punished so much more harshly than if you just "play the game" and plead out. In fact, there's no way our system's current capacity could even function without the vast majority of offenders pleading out like they do and saving the state the time and expense of a trial for so many cases.

In my anecdotal experience, I'd say probably 90% of the prisoners I met inside were clearly guilty of their crimes and freely admitted it to their fellow prisoners (if not bragged about it), even if they maintained their innocence to their family and loved ones on the outs. Most of them plead out. Another 5% maintained their innocence even to fellow prisoners but were clearly guilty as well. They were usually the ones who took their cases to trial, and got massively long sentences as a result of it. Then there were probably about 5% who I believe truly were innocent of their charges. Many of them took their cases to trial as well, and were also serving very long sentences. And even most of them wished they had just taken the plea bargain (despite their innocence) and been able to be released from prison many years sooner.
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Old 06-03-2017, 11:52 AM
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My son was guilty and due to the magnitude of the crime (Class X), plea bargain was his only choice. We interviewed five lawyers prior to hiring the one we went with and all of them said they would not take it to trial - no way!

So - he took a plea of 8.5 years (I still tear up reading that number).
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Old 06-03-2017, 03:06 PM
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Welcome to PTO, Ms Anne.

If you dig around the forum a bit, you'll find that this topic is one of the most recurrent themes we've discussed and debated about over the years.

My own two cents: for those who are really guilty of their crimes (the vast majority of offenders, I suspect) and willing to take responsibility and start making amends for those they have hurt, plea bargains are a great option to help mitigate the consequences of our actions without forcing our victims go endure the rigors of trial and cross-examination that can be painful for all sides to experience.

But on the same token, they have also been used as a weapon by prosecutors to scare defendants against taking their cases to trial, even when they are innocent, since they make it widely known that if you do dare take your case to trial you will often times be punished so much more harshly than if you just "play the game" and plead out. In fact, there's no way our system's current capacity could even function without the vast majority of offenders pleading out like they do and saving the state the time and expense of a trial for so many cases.

In my anecdotal experience, I'd say probably 90% of the prisoners I met inside were clearly guilty of their crimes and freely admitted it to their fellow prisoners (if not bragged about it), even if they maintained their innocence to their family and loved ones on the outs. Most of them plead out. Another 5% maintained their innocence even to fellow prisoners but were clearly guilty as well. They were usually the ones who took their cases to trial, and got massively long sentences as a result of it. Then there were probably about 5% who I believe truly were innocent of their charges. Many of them took their cases to trial as well, and were also serving very long sentences. And even most of them wished they had just taken the plea bargain (despite their innocence) and been able to be released from prison many years sooner.
First let me thank you for your response. I'm trying to learn more as I go. He has stated his innocence since day one but when faced with 25+ years or a plea of 3-6 he ultimately ended up taking the plea. He regrets this decision now terribly and is having a difficult time dealing with it. An appeal is an option but it's so very difficult to make such decisions when you're dealing with your life. At first I thought the criminal justice system was without flaw and the more I research and learn I was very naive. With that said his charge was a he said/she said case with no real evidence other then his word over hers. I truly believe he is innocent and I feel so badly that a person can make claims and ruin someone's life.

It seems as though you have been in prison so therefore your insight is so very valuable as so many just can not relate to what goes on in there and what you all must endure. Your statistics are fairly low at 5% actual innocent. What draws you to this? I have researched Innocence projects and read books about so many people spending time behind bars when they were actually innocent. I just don't know anymore what to do. Obviously there are people that think he's guilty as that's human nature to judge without knowing and facts. Can I ask why would someone claim their innocence to family and friends but confess on the inside? This whole this seems like a nightmare..... I just don't know what to do.
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Old 06-03-2017, 03:10 PM
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My son was guilty and due to the magnitude of the crime (Class X), plea bargain was his only choice. We interviewed five lawyers prior to hiring the one we went with and all of them said they would not take it to trial - no way!

So - he took a plea of 8.5 years (I still tear up reading that number).
First off my apologies for what you are going through. I know it isn't easy. It seems as though he made the right choice if he was facing a very lengthy sentence otherwise. Even though it's so hard I myself find it difficult to imagine what they face in there. But I keep reminding myself smaller numbers are better than double digits in this instance. Keep your faith and I hope things work out for you and your family. Thank you for your response.
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Old 06-04-2017, 01:31 AM
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It seems as though you have been in prison so therefore your insight is so very valuable as so many just can not relate to what goes on in there and what you all must endure. Your statistics are fairly low at 5% actual innocent. What draws you to this? I have researched Innocence projects and read books about so many people spending time behind bars when they were actually innocent.
To be fair, the ~5% figure was merely based on my own anecdotal observations, so many in-depth conversations I had with so many other fellow prisoners inside, since we had nothing but time to kill in there. But even at 5%, considering how many hundreds of thousands of prisoners we have locked up in this country, that's still an awful lot of probably innocent people who are still locked up.

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I just don't know anymore what to do. Obviously there are people that think he's guilty as that's human nature to judge without knowing and facts. Can I ask why would someone claim their innocence to family and friends but confess on the inside? This whole this seems like a nightmare..... I just don't know what to do.
Well, a lot of it has to do with the shame of admitting the truth to loved ones on the outs, worry about losing support, etc., if they might stop sending money or visiting if they came to find out he was really guilty. Whereas on the inside we're all in the same boat, and most everyone freely admits their guilt to each other, simply in relaying the story of what they're in for, how they got caught, etc.

But I'm not trying to discount your LO's story. Perhaps he really is one of the relatively few who are truly innocent. I wouldn't want to jump to conclusions without really having a chance to hear his story and seeing if it ever changes over time (which is usually a pretty good indicator of deception, if he keeps changing the details of how things went down over time.) People like to say "Where's there's smoke there's usually fire." And that tends to be true in most cases. Police don't generally investigate, let alone arrest someone unless they have pretty strong probable cause. And I'm not of the belief that most crime victims lie about being victimized either. But it does happen from time to time, especially if there might be some compelling ulterior motive.

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Old 06-04-2017, 12:53 PM
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Dee and I have a friend who was faced with a very similar situation. To this day swears her innocence, and you know what, based on the documentation I have available and the preliminary hearing testimony, I don't understand 1.) why the police believed the alleged witnesses and 2.) why the judge didn't throw the case out on its face at that stage.

I'm very much a skeptic of what people tell me, but after reviewing all the evidence and testimony available to me aside from just her own statements, I'm convinced that she didn't do it.

But it advanced to the trial stage. And basically she had two options.

Take the plea bargain and get 12 years at 85% on an assault with a deadly weapon charge and a gun enhancement.

Or face two attempted murder charges with various other enhancements attached which, if convicted, would have resulted in her getting a sentence of 43 years to life in prison.

She didn't trust a jury to believe her side. She took the 12 at 85% because, as she told me, "I want to know I'm going home some day. I have so little control, but I can control that. I can control my ability to know I am going home and not leave it to twelve men and women to decide my fate based on the testimony of police detectives that want to put me away and my so-called friends who have abandoned me and may not even bother to show up and testify as to my alibi."

This is not what a plea bargain is intended to be used for.

And yet, it is so often.

The system may be corrupt. But a lot of times it gets it right. I have a good friend who is a judge who says that the most necessary part of his job is to remain as impartial as possible and consider all sides of a case in addition to all procedural rules and decorum. He also states that most judges don't have it out for defendants....what they have is a docket that sometimes is 150-200 cases long in a given day that they need to move through as quickly as possible in order to try to give all sides a fair shake at getting the desired results. He says he is sure that many times he's accepted plea deals involving innocent defendants. But his job is not to have a mini-trial to determine that....the agreement is made between the People and the Defendant and unless he seems some sort of eregious error on the part of the People in their prosecution (which rarely can develop in the time that a plea bargain is offered and accepted,) then he has no choice but to enforce it.

The reality is, 5-10% innocent is probably an accurate number optimistically speaking, and might even be high. People generally don't get arrested and put into the criminal justice system because cops are bored or have a beef. Sure, it happens sometimes. But it generally involves large amounts of investigation and the fact that police and District Attorneys want to get it right because if they convict someone and get it wrong that comes back to haunt them later in some cases. And because of the amount of investigation necessary, while obviously there are those falsely convicted, the more serious the crime, the LESS likely they are to get the wrong guy (and if they do, chances are that the evidence, through some form of coincidence or otherwise, probably looks pretty bad for the falsely convicted and usually the evidence that exonerates them doesn't come about until much later.)

I'm not saying your LO is guilty. He may be telling the truth. But the actual percentage of innocent men and women like my friend and your LO, while the pure number is probably in the thousands, maybe even tens of thousands based on the number of people incarcerated in this country and the statistics involved.....pales compared to the number of times that the system gets it RIGHT.

Further, you're talking about an appeal for him being an option...here's the problem with that. When you take a plea bargain, you're waiving your right to most forms of appeal. His only grounds, really, would either be ineffective assistance of counsel or significant new evidence. Appealing his sentence for the sake of appealing is going to have one of two results.

1.) The appellete court will find no error in the process and no fault in the lawyer's work and deny the request.
2.) The appellete court will find some sort of avenue to determine that, in fact, he was not given the proper processes, vacate the conviction/plea, and send the case back to court and essentially cause it to be tried again from scratch. This can take years to get to this point. It also means that the plea he took is out the window possibly, the DA can decide not to offer again, take it to trial, then if a jury disagrees with him about his innocence he'll get that 25-to-life you're talking about.

Think long and hard about spending time and energy on the appeal. His better course may be to be on his best behavior and aim for release in 3 years.

Good luck.

-E
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Old 06-04-2017, 02:00 PM
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>his job is not to have a mini-trial to determine that

That is true.

OP asked for our feelings. Mine is that one good reform would be to require a mini-trial or hearing where the judge hears evidence from the defense, and then rejects the plea bargain if it looks like there's a serious risk the defendant is innocent. Change "Do you know you have the right to call witnesses?" to "Who knows where you were that night? What would they say? [and so on]". Have the judge double-check whether the lineup was done according to procedure and whether the interrogation was recorded. That kind of thing.

Feelings? Whether she was guilty or not, I'm sick and angry about the friend of a friend who put in a plea hoping to get parole in 25 years instead of a needle and who the prison then decided to execute by medical neglect. Not to mention that one of the prisons she was in was a rape factory where even the chaplain was in on it.

Feelings? I think about what the friends and relatives have to go through and wish for a world where nobody had to deal with something that bad.
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Old 06-04-2017, 06:09 PM
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OP asked for our feelings. Mine is that one good reform would be to require a mini-trial or hearing where the judge hears evidence from the defense, and then rejects the plea bargain if it looks like there's a serious risk the defendant is innocent. Change "Do you know you have the right to call witnesses?" to "Who knows where you were that night? What would they say? [and so on]". Have the judge double-check whether the lineup was done according to procedure and whether the interrogation was recorded. That kind of thing.
I agree with this sentiment. I feel like the preliminary hearing could be betterment utilized if the rules allowed for a more definitive defense. And I feel like many defendants don't even go so far as a preliminary hearing strictly because they can't really present a defense until trial. It does make me wonder if this factor increases the likelihood of a person taking a deal too soon or not getting a better deal as the result of whatever mitigating factors could be presented if the rules were different.

So feelings are fine.

That said, the purpose of this specific forum is to try to offer legal help or guidance (albeit in a non-official capacity) so while sharing my thoughts I felt that explaining the issues op may run into was important and pertinent. As much as I hope for good outcomes.......the legal system is not always designed for them.
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:42 AM
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>I felt that explaining the issues op may run into was important and pertinent.

It is both and you succeeded.
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Old 06-05-2017, 01:37 AM
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>I felt that explaining the issues op may run into was important and pertinent.

It is both and you succeeded.
Thank you.

Plea bargain really can be a touchy area. They are, potentially, a fair way to resolve an issue which allows for a fair sentence without the hassle of a trial. But they also have a potential for abuse. A reminder that the system is not perfect....it has some ideas that work great in theory, and sometimes work well in practice, but other times are patently not fair.

I've been fortunate in some ways in that I have made friends and connections in numerous areas of the legal field, including the judge friend I mentioned (he is a very good man and we've had some great conversations about the law and his role in enforcing and his viewpoint on inmates....he is very pro-reform personally, and has talked about parts of his job that frustrate him that he deals with on a daily basis when he knows leniency and rehabilitation would do better than the sentences he passes down, or where he knows that a program placement would work well but because of the nature of a case or a defendant he can't order it,) I've gotten to know a couple of Deputy District Attorneys, one of whom prosecutes gang cases and another who has actually tried a few Death Penalty cases (and in a couple of instances won a conviction,) and of course defense attorneys, police officers, and the occasional correctional officer.

And plenty of inmates.

It's given me a pretty rounded perspective. A lot of people share our sentiments. But a lot of forces and laws work against them, unfortunately.

And this takes us back to the problem with plea bargaining, when it's used as a chip to try to get someone to take a sure-fire outdate and a conviction rather than fight for their innocence.

I do believe that there is something wrong with a justice system that doles out its harshest penalties to people who exercise their right to due process, to a trial, to judgment by a jury of their peers. I wonder, if a guilty verdict resulted in a more stringent sentencing process that involved more bargaining and less "we're going to give you as much time as we can give you," if more people would exercise their rights to see their cases through (although admittedly, in the court system as it currently exists, this would probably lead to longer resolution times on cases.)

There has to be a better way...
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Old 06-05-2017, 09:02 AM
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To be fair, the ~5% figure was merely based on my own anecdotal observations, so many in-depth conversations I had with so many other fellow prisoners inside, since we had nothing but time to kill in there. But even at 5%, considering how many hundreds of thousands of prisoners we have locked up in this country, that's still an awful lot of probably innocent people who are still locked up.

Well, a lot of it has to do with the shame of admitting the truth to loved ones on the outs, worry about losing support, etc., if they might stop sending money or visiting if they came to find out he was really guilty. Whereas on the inside we're all in the same boat, and most everyone freely admits their guilt to each other, simply in relaying the story of what they're in for, how they got caught, etc.

But I'm not trying to discount your LO's story. Perhaps he really is one of the relatively few who are truly innocent. I wouldn't want to jump to conclusions without really having a chance to hear his story and seeing if it ever changes over time (which is usually a pretty good indicator of deception, if he keeps changing the details of how things went down over time.) People like to say "Where's there's smoke there's usually fire." And that tends to be true in most cases. Police don't generally investigate, let alone arrest someone unless they have pretty strong probable cause. And I'm not of the belief that most crime victims lie about being victimized either. But it does happen from time to time, especially if there might be some compelling ulterior motive.
Thank you again for your insight! It's so very helpful to hear from someone who has actually been on the inside so to speak. It's so very difficult to understand what goes n in there. According to him it's a nightmare. It's so very hard to imagine and of course we tend to picture the worst case scenarios. I myself in this instance feel that he did the right thing by taking the plea as I feel he wouldn't have had much of a chance at a trial, but to hear his struggle now that he is in there for something he didn't even do is heartbreaking. To risk spending 25+ years seemed so risky to me as I have little faith in a trial when it comes don to a he said she said case. No evidence just one word against the other. So very very difficult and yes to be afraid of you don't take the plea you will "pay" so to speak is so very scary. It's not easy for me to say to him just do the time and get out!! But o feel it's best.... I also feel he is so broken over this I wonder if the prison time he will serve if he will ever be the same man when he gets out. So many things in my mind.....
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:49 AM
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Dee and I have a friend who was faced with a very similar situation. To this day swears her innocence, and you know what, based on the documentation I have available and the preliminary hearing testimony, I don't understand 1.) why the police believed the alleged witnesses and 2.) why the judge didn't throw the case out on its face at that stage.

I'm very much a skeptic of what people tell me, but after reviewing all the evidence and testimony available to me aside from just her own statements, I'm convinced that she didn't do it.

But it advanced to the trial stage. And basically she had two options.

Take the plea bargain and get 12 years at 85% on an assault with a deadly weapon charge and a gun enhancement.

Or face two attempted murder charges with various other enhancements attached which, if convicted, would have resulted in her getting a sentence of 43 years to life in prison.

She didn't trust a jury to believe her side. She took the 12 at 85% because, as she told me, "I want to know I'm going home some day. I have so little control, but I can control that. I can control my ability to know I am going home and not leave it to twelve men and women to decide my fate based on the testimony of police detectives that want to put me away and my so-called friends who have abandoned me and may not even bother to show up and testify as to my alibi."

This is not what a plea bargain is intended to be used for.

And yet, it is so often.

The system may be corrupt. But a lot of times it gets it right. I have a good friend who is a judge who says that the most necessary part of his job is to remain as impartial as possible and consider all sides of a case in addition to all procedural rules and decorum. He also states that most judges don't have it out for defendants....what they have is a docket that sometimes is 150-200 cases long in a given day that they need to move through as quickly as possible in order to try to give all sides a fair shake at getting the desired results. He says he is sure that many times he's accepted plea deals involving innocent defendants. But his job is not to have a mini-trial to determine that....the agreement is made between the People and the Defendant and unless he seems some sort of eregious error on the part of the People in their prosecution (which rarely can develop in the time that a plea bargain is offered and accepted,) then he has no choice but to enforce it.

The reality is, 5-10% innocent is probably an accurate number optimistically speaking, and might even be high. People generally don't get arrested and put into the criminal justice system because cops are bored or have a beef. Sure, it happens sometimes. But it generally involves large amounts of investigation and the fact that police and District Attorneys want to get it right because if they convict someone and get it wrong that comes back to haunt them later in some cases. And because of the amount of investigation necessary, while obviously there are those falsely convicted, the more serious the crime, the LESS likely they are to get the wrong guy (and if they do, chances are that the evidence, through some form of coincidence or otherwise, probably looks pretty bad for the falsely convicted and usually the evidence that exonerates them doesn't come about until much later.)

I'm not saying your LO is guilty. He may be telling the truth. But the actual percentage of innocent men and women like my friend and your LO, while the pure number is probably in the thousands, maybe even tens of thousands based on the number of people incarcerated in this country and the statistics involved.....pales compared to the number of times that the system gets it RIGHT.

Further, you're talking about an appeal for him being an option...here's the problem with that. When you take a plea bargain, you're waiving your right to most forms of appeal. His only grounds, really, would either be ineffective assistance of counsel or significant new evidence. Appealing his sentence for the sake of appealing is going to have one of two results.

1.) The appellete court will find no error in the process and no fault in the lawyer's work and deny the request.
2.) The appellete court will find some sort of avenue to determine that, in fact, he was not given the proper processes, vacate the conviction/plea, and send the case back to court and essentially cause it to be tried again from scratch. This can take years to get to this point. It also means that the plea he took is out the window possibly, the DA can decide not to offer again, take it to trial, then if a jury disagrees with him about his innocence he'll get that 25-to-life you're talking about.

Think long and hard about spending time and energy on the appeal. His better course may be to be on his best behavior and aim for release in 3 years.

Good luck.

-E
Thank you for your response. This is exactly the dilemma I feel like his family and I are dealing with. Your friend took a plea for something she didn't do because the trial was to risky. How is she coping? How is she dealing with this? She's wasting years of her life however the flip side is she could have possibly been sent away for much longer. It seems there was evidence in this case and in mind there's none, it's one word versus the other. I would've never thought this could happen but as I said after reading, researching etc and the strict laws the judges have to abide by and enforce even if they don't deem it appropriate makes it very difficult to decide when you're talking about the rest of someone's life. It's truly sad. I don't feel he should do an appeal. As you stated there are so many risks involved. We do have a few appeals attorneys reviewing his case for reasons you stated above. He's having a very difficult time accepting this and we'll wait and see if there are even grounds for an appeal. Even if it went through which I think would be difficult I don't mean to be negative but I don't think his chances are great given the research I've done in this area. It's just so very sad.
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Ms Anne49 View Post
Thank you for your response. This is exactly the dilemma I feel like his family and I are dealing with. Your friend took a plea for something she didn't do because the trial was to risky. How is she coping? How is she dealing with this? She's wasting years of her life however the flip side is she could have possibly been sent away for much longer. It seems there was evidence in this case and in mind there's none, it's one word versus the other. I would've never thought this could happen but as I said after reading, researching etc and the strict laws the judges have to abide by and enforce even if they don't deem it appropriate makes it very difficult to decide when you're talking about the rest of someone's life. It's truly sad. I don't feel he should do an appeal. As you stated there are so many risks involved. We do have a few appeals attorneys reviewing his case for reasons you stated above. He's having a very difficult time accepting this and we'll wait and see if there are even grounds for an appeal. Even if it went through which I think would be difficult I don't mean to be negative but I don't think his chances are great given the research I've done in this area. It's just so very sad.


Our friend is actually thriving. Aside from being a model inmate, she has used her sentence to start working on a college degree and has learned a trade (electrical work) and is working on a second trade (plumbing.) While she was not guilty of this specific crime, she's seen the time as being a blessing in some ways....before this she was involved with gang bangers and to some extent with drugs (has a few various drug-related charges in her past.) Prison has gotten her away from those associates and allowed her to re-define who she is and who she wants to be once she is free again.

Dee, of course, was guilty of her crimes. Prison is a terrible place. But she Echo'd a sentiment that our friend has said a few times....prison may have saved her life, and definitely led to her turning it around.

I think at the end of the day, prison is what you make of it. You can focus on being angry about your past. Or you can focus on changing for the better for the future. Our friend definitely has taken that approach. Toward the end, so did Dee. Innocent or guilty, the time changes people. But they still have a choice about HOW it changes them.

Sure, always fight for what's right. If you are innocent, maintain that. If there are legitimate grounds on which to appeal, take that and run with it. But at the end of the day, when you do time, you have choices to make about your own life and how you handle your time. Those are independent of whether you belong there or not.
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  #15  
Old 10-24-2017, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Ms Anne49 View Post
First let me thank you for your response. I'm trying to learn more as I go. He has stated his innocence since day one but when faced with 25+ years or a plea of 3-6 he ultimately ended up taking the plea. He regrets this decision now terribly and is having a difficult time dealing with it. An appeal is an option but it's so very difficult to make such decisions when you're dealing with your life. At first I thought the criminal justice system was without flaw and the more I research and learn I was very naive. With that said his charge was a he said/she said case with no real evidence other then his word over hers. I truly believe he is innocent and I feel so badly that a person can make claims and ruin someone's life.

It seems as though you have been in prison so therefore your insight is so very valuable as so many just can not relate to what goes on in there and what you all must endure. Your statistics are fairly low at 5% actual innocent. What draws you to this? I have researched Innocence projects and read books about so many people spending time behind bars when they were actually innocent. I just don't know anymore what to do. Obviously there are people that think he's guilty as that's human nature to judge without knowing and facts. Can I ask why would someone claim their innocence to family and friends but confess on the inside? This whole this seems like a nightmare..... I just don't know what to do.
I have been going through basically the same exact situation with my husband. I know for FACT he is innocent because I was there. I was actually facing the same charges as him and I was not involved at all. I spent the past 3 years educating myself in criminal law and procedure to the point I actually helped our attorneys win statistically near impossible motions filed with the research and documents I provided and we got the officer to admit on the stand he executed an illegal search and the prosecution witness to admit they tampered with the scene. I have storage boxes full of documents about our case and know them by heart, but there is so many issues involved I cannot go into detail without it becoming a book. My charges were all dropped (originally facing 25+ years, never been in trouble in my 32 years of life, etc.) and since the system was too far into mishandling their whole case and didn't want to backtrack and admit wrongdoing due to the recent corruption (many) cases against the county officials they would not drop the charges on my husband. He took a plea of TIME SERVED of 3 years because they were trying to put him away for 25+ (never been in trouble, 34 years old) had it gone to trial and something went wrong (and everything in our case seemed to go wrong, regardless of the overwhelming PROOF otherwise). The only "evidence" the prosecution had was he said/she said. All their other evidence (pictures of things) was proven inadmissible through my documented proof, side-by-side comparisons of same evidence/different positioning, etc. and that is what was used to win the motion after the prosecution witnesses were faced with black and white evidence of wrongdoing (and what they did is illegal and never got charged). It is all complete bogus and I am still in disbelief how this can even happen. The case where it stands now would not have even had probably cause to file charges, but unfortunately they filed charges the first week (no investigation into the case at that point) and by the time the clear picture came out it was going to be a scandal and lawsuit for the county so they continued to save face. Another reason he took the plea is he didn't want to put me and our 10 month old son through a trial. I too thought the system worked until I actually started doing research and I am totally disgusted and have no faith in our judicial system. I am working on my law degree now and want to use my life and knowledge and experience to do some major changes because he sits in prison as an innocent man when the other party in the case is responsible and should been charged, everything was entirely backwards. It was tunnel vision from the very beginning and the system picks and chooses what they want to use/document/how to interpret the law and its not right and its not justice by any means. I regretted letting him take the plea from the beginning and have considered appealing it, but yes, it is so much more difficult to overturn a plea of guilt. This has severely damaged our entire family. I am working on a Governor Pardon and already have documents to the parole board. The saddest thing of all is our infant son, completely innocent, without his father who loves him more than life itself and our son has not been the same since the system ripped him from our lives. I have so much I can write on this. I am just waiting for him to return home so he can be witness when I sue the parties involved in any wrongdoing that put him there. The funny thing is, they see me as a dumb blonde and have no idea what I am capable of and how tenacious I am when it comes to people hurting my family. They have no clue what legal knowledge and information I have and I will continue to work on, so they will never see it coming. I believe in Karma, but I will also not let some young prosecutor advance his career at the expense of my family. Or some guy who cant admit his fault and trying to save his reputation and business by fabricating evidence and his lies. My advise, do your research, go over the case documents over and over until you know them by heart. Write down anything you see wrong, anything you can prove, apply your states laws and cite previous cases similar to yours and the defense that was used to win those cases. The more you know, the more you can do and help in your defense. Be 100% transparent with your lawyer, good, bad, or ugly. Dont leave out anything, even if it seems irrelevant or minor. And good luck. The entire system, top to bottom, needs to be put in check and major changes are needed.
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Old 10-24-2017, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Ms Anne49 View Post
Thank you again for your insight! It's so very helpful to hear from someone who has actually been on the inside so to speak. It's so very difficult to understand what goes n in there. According to him it's a nightmare. It's so very hard to imagine and of course we tend to picture the worst case scenarios. I myself in this instance feel that he did the right thing by taking the plea as I feel he wouldn't have had much of a chance at a trial, but to hear his struggle now that he is in there for something he didn't even do is heartbreaking. To risk spending 25+ years seemed so risky to me as I have little faith in a trial when it comes don to a he said she said case. No evidence just one word against the other. So very very difficult and yes to be afraid of you don't take the plea you will "pay" so to speak is so very scary. It's not easy for me to say to him just do the time and get out!! But o feel it's best.... I also feel he is so broken over this I wonder if the prison time he will serve if he will ever be the same man when he gets out. So many things in my mind.....
I also worry about my husband and the impact prison will have on him. Prison is supposed to be a place to punish the guilty and change them so they come out and don't re-offend. However, and this has been studied, when you take an innocent person who has never been in trouble or in any situation like being in prison and throw them into prison life, the adverse effect could be done and it scares me that he will never be the same or have picked up a "criminal mind" that he did not enter prison with. In prison, you have to somewhat assimilate yourself to prison life and the people there. Sort of a "fake it til you make it" type of thing. My husband has already been told by many inmates he doesn't belong there and he doesn't fit in, therefor I worry about him becoming a target. This keeps me in a panic, can't sleep, worry when I dont hear from him. He is still in county, but I am even more worried about when he moves to prison. For the next 3 years he basically has to think and act like one of them to avoid becoming a target and his only influence will be the inmates and will learn all kinds of things about being a criminal. I am praying he can stay the same man and just put on a good front while in there that he can shed as soon as he comes home, but I am afraid it will not be as simple as that. He will have to adjust back into the real world and remember who he was/is before he went in. All we can do is keep them grounded with our communications with them and keep them involved and influenced by how we live our lives so they can have that constant reminder of the life outside of prison and hopefully won't get swallowed up by prison life. The horror stories I have heard from him are almost too much for me to think about, and our phone calls I can hear in the background what is going on and it makes me sick to know that is his life for now. I just keep reminding him who he is and stay strong for him and we talk about our life when he comes home.
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:16 PM
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Look, it boils down to what the Defendant can do. A defendant may be risk adverse and prefer to spend a short (relatively) amount of time in prison v. a long time in prison even if guilty. That same person may not be able to sit for a long time in prison when he had been offered a relatively short amount of time had been offered.

I look at it this way; a guy has to look at life from the perspective of losing at trial and getting a good number of years and compare that with taking the plea. Some people would be happy to sit in prison for a long time - it can be a matter of morals and ethics, it can be a matter of being true to himself, but he can do decades in prison never admitting in open court that he was guilty of something. He would not be able to sit one day in prison having taken a plea and admitted in open court that he was guilty.

Another guy would die every day past his plea offer, knowing that he was missing raising his kids, being with his family, making love to his spouse, being able to go to the funerals of his parents.

Each guy is different, but they fall into those two main categories. Families and significant others do the same thing - fall into those categories. No matter what the family thinks, they need to put their thoughts aside and help their defendant come to his own conclusion - something that fits who he is, something he can live with. It is his ass doing the time.

And yes, he could win at trial and do no time at all. Counting on that when making these sorts of decisions is setting a person up for disaster. I firmly believe that I will win every case, but no matter what I believe, it's not my ass sitting in prison if I'm wrong. I have to sublimate my desires to go to court and prove my guy not guilty because the reality is that he could be found guilty - evidence, judge, acumen of the prosecutor, who shows up for jury duty.....

It has to be his decision or he won't do time well, and he may very well grow to blame his loved ones for pressuring him to take it to trial or take a plea.
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  #18  
Old 10-24-2017, 09:33 PM
onparoleinTO onparoleinTO is offline
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Wife - I think the general experience on this site - and my personal experience as well ,though in another country - is that fears about jail are often overstated. To be sure, they aren't good places, and bad things do happen. But most people get through their time without too much trauma. In my case the arrest and sentencing were much worse than the jail time (15 months of it). If he has good supports outside, if he can write to and phone people and get a few visits, if he has some things to keep him going inside (e.g. reading, writing letters, even working out), then he should be OK. The start is often the worst, then you get used to it, you find a few people you can relate to, you learn how things work. I was also a person who 'didn't belong' (told to me by both staff and other prisoners) and while I definitely would not want to do it again, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I feared it would be before I went in. And usually a 'senior' jail (federal) is better than county.
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Old 10-26-2017, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by onparoleinTO View Post
Wife - I think the general experience on this site - and my personal experience as well ,though in another country - is that fears about jail are often overstated. To be sure, they aren't good places, and bad things do happen. But most people get through their time without too much trauma. In my case the arrest and sentencing were much worse than the jail time (15 months of it). If he has good supports outside, if he can write to and phone people and get a few visits, if he has some things to keep him going inside (e.g. reading, writing letters, even working out), then he should be OK. The start is often the worst, then you get used to it, you find a few people you can relate to, you learn how things work. I was also a person who 'didn't belong' (told to me by both staff and other prisoners) and while I definitely would not want to do it again, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I feared it would be before I went in. And usually a 'senior' jail (federal) is better than county.
Thank you for your post and an "insider" perspective because I tend to think the worst not knowing what is going on and what the future holds. It seems my husband is doing the right things to get by in there (reading, writing letters, working out, finding people he can talk to) and we certainly take every opportunity to talk and visit and I make sure our families make the effort to show he is loved and supported. I feel better about things now, while I still will worry myself until he comes home, at least I might can sleep at night now. I just felt he was a potential target with people telling him he doesn't belong and I was living each day waiting for a call he had been hurt, and also worrying about him being a different person when he came home. I really do appreciate your feed back. God bless you!
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Ms Anne49 View Post
What are you feelings on plea bargains? How many of your loved ones are actually innocent but took a plea bargain out of fear of losing and doing a tremendous amount of time behind bars or coercion for something they didn't do?
Any insight, stories,resources, ideas about the sometimes corrupt system would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance
Yes, this is is what we are going through. My man was facing 25 years to life for CSC charges after he angered his wife/soon to be ex with news of divorce and the fact i, his girlfriend, was pregnant which was an issue of contention. She always wanted his baby and couldnt have one. Her daughter was 19 yrs old and always hated him but moreso always wanted her mother to accept her. SHe is now transgendered. Anyways, They fabricated a story and just 36 hours after he told her I was pregnant, they made a report. 10 days later he was arrested on multiple felony charges and 2 misdomeaners.. They had to toss Child porn out because his electronics were clean but the rest stayed until he took a plea. The plea was for 3-6 years adn the Judge ended up sentencing him to 5 years last week. There is no Good Time in Michigan either so 5 years sentenced is what his minimum will be.

I can look at it as well you know, its better than 25 years... but its like... but its 5 ******** years that he loses in life all because CSC 2 charges do not require evidence beyond words.. Words... all someone has to do is maintain their story and you are shot in the *** for 15 yrs for that charge alone. The lawyer (which cost a mint btw) told us that in thsi particular county that 99% of people who go in for CSC 2 charges in a trial where its only Words end up being convicted.. so what chance did he really have anyways?? what could he even begin to do to protect himself as an innocent man? Nothing... He spends 5 years in prison and has to be "THANKFUL" thats all. His newborn son is laying besides me sleeping. He hasnt held him since he was 6 days old. He is 12 weeks tomorrow. The woman may think she has won. Certainly, in some ways she feels probably vindicated for the heartache side of things But... the justice system allowed my man to become a victim... a victim of something that will follow him for the rest of his life and nothing can be done about it. so we take our 5 years and when he is out, we will be together.. it will haunt us.. being a SO.. being on a registry.. always having people look at him like a villain.. but he has me... for the rest of his life and she couldnt take that even if he probably will have to live in his own apartment when he is out until my youngest child (not including his) is 18 and gone.. so 10 years of renting once he is out.. but we will be together... and thus she didnt win..
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  #21  
Old 10-26-2017, 09:31 PM
onparoleinTO onparoleinTO is offline
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Being in jail does change people. I'm less positive and optimistic than I used to be. But life changes people, whether they're in jail or not. And much will depend on his approach and attitude. I did a lot of reading and writing. I wrote tons of letters to lots of people. I wrote a family history for my kids and grandkids. You can find things to do in jail that are worth doing; I learned yoga and did that every day. It's not a good place to be but one can learn and grow from almost any experience - see Yourself's post (not sure on what thread) about Victor Frankl in Auschwitz. If he has family support and people who continue to love him, he's very likely to come out OK. Do feel free to continue to reach out on this site or via PM for reassurance; it's why many of us are on this site, to try to help others get through a bad experience.


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Originally Posted by Wife Concerned View Post
Thank you for your post and an "insider" perspective because I tend to think the worst not knowing what is going on and what the future holds. It seems my husband is doing the right things to get by in there (reading, writing letters, working out, finding people he can talk to) and we certainly take every opportunity to talk and visit and I make sure our families make the effort to show he is loved and supported. I feel better about things now, while I still will worry myself until he comes home, at least I might can sleep at night now. I just felt he was a potential target with people telling him he doesn't belong and I was living each day waiting for a call he had been hurt, and also worrying about him being a different person when he came home. I really do appreciate your feed back. God bless you!
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