Monday, January 26, 2015

Interesting Op-Ed Re "Serial" and Plea Bargaining

Many people have listed to the hit podcast "Serial" by now.  For those who have not, it is an extremely interesting show detailing the prosecution of Adnan Syed for the 1999 murder of his former high school girlfriend.

This weekend, The New York Times published an Op-Ed about the case.  This is not surprising given the recent publicity around the Podcast.  What was surprising, however, was that the Op-Ed dealt less with the evidence against Syed and more with the fact that he did not plead guilty.

From the introduction:

OUR modern criminal justice system is designed to avoid jury trials. Through investigation and considered use of discretion, prosecutors are expected to charge only when there is sufficient evidence to convict. Once charged, defendants are encouraged to plead guilty in part to avoid a “trial penalty” — a longer sentence after a trial, often a much longer one. And 95 percent of them do just that. The Supreme Court acknowledged this reality in 2012 when it described our criminal process as “a system of pleas.”
You can read the entire Op-Ed here.

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