Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Lockdown Bad Deal: Corruption

Almost no one goes to trial. Nearly all criminal cases are resolved through plea bargaining, usually a guilty plea by the defendant in exchange for some form of leniency by the prosecutor. Though it is not widely known, the prosecutor is the most powerful enforcement official in the criminal justice system. One might think that judges are the most powerful, or even the police, but in reality the prosecutor holds the cards. It is the prosecutor, far more than any other criminal official, who holds the keys to the jailhouse doors. The prosecutor's job is to seek the truth. Unfortunately, the unrevealed, deeply held prejudices he has are not based on a desire to achieve a just, fair, or moral outcome. This is the norm for over 98% of prosecutors.

The prosecutor, with all his resources and control, have home court advantage and the referee in his pocket directs all calls in his favor. Judges take the side of the prosecutors.

After the police arrest someone, the prosecutor is in charge. Few rules constrain the exercise of his or her discretion. The prosecutor is free to dismiss a case for any reason or no reason at all. The prosecutor is also free to file more charges against a defendant than can realistically be proven in court, so long as he is in charge. The bad prosecutors are wicked people who took an oath of office in which the person promises to perform the duties of that office in good faith, but they never do.

The practice of encouraging defendants to plead guilty to crimes, rather than affording them the benefit of a full trial, has always carried its risk and downsides. Never before in our history, though, have such an extraordinary number of people felt compelled to plead guilty, even if they are innocent, simply because the punishment for the minor, nonviolent offense with which they have been charged is so unbelievably severe. When the prosecutor offers only three years in prison and threatens to give life imprisonment, only extremely courageous defendants would turn the offer down.

This is called ethnic cleansing. The purpose is to drive all members of the victimized group out of a territory or city. Ethnic cleansing is nearly synonymous with genocide as mass murder is a characteristic of both. They murder and destroy families.

The law in the county itself may be fair on its face and impartial in appearance, yet if it is applied and administered by public authority with evil eyes, a wicked heart, and an unequal hand, it practically enables unjust and illegal discrimination between persons in similar circumstances. The denial of equal justice is still prohibited by the Constitution.

Immunizing prosecutors from claims of racial bias and failing to impose any meaningful check on the exercise of their discretion in charges, plea bargaining, transferring cases, and sentencing has created an environment in which conscious and unconscious biases are allowed to flourish. The Berrien County trial court operates a criminal enterprise. The must be stopped at all costs. Evidence does not lie, but prosecutors do!

-Rev. Edward Pinkney