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Title: Florida Man Jailed 41 Days Over 92 Grams of...Laundry Detergent
Source: Reason
URL Source: https://reason.com/blog/2019/01/30/ ... n-jailed-41-days-over-92-grams
Published: Jan 30, 2019
Author: Joe Setyon
Post Date: 2019-02-04 06:42:45 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 1832
Comments: 92

Spoiler alert: It wasn't heroin.

Screenshot via WPEC; Anetlanda/Dreamstime.com

A Florida man spent 41 days behind bars after police found a powdery white substance in his van last month. Spoiler alert: It wasn't drugs.

Matthew Crull, 28, of Port St. Lucie, was sitting in his newly purchased van on December 5 when Martin County Sheriff's Office deputies arrived at the KFC parking lot where he had fallen asleep. Someone had reported the vehicle as suspicious, so police were investigating.

When deputies searched his van, they found marijuana, a beer in the cup holder, and a bag with 92 grams of a white powder in it. Deputy Steven O'Leary claimed to have conducted a field drug test on the powder, and said it tested positive for heroin.

"I just looked at him baffled and confused because I had no idea as to where 92 grams of heroin came from inside my van," Crull told WPTV later.

"I really freaked out," he added to WBPF. "I started panicking and didn't really know what to think."

Crull was right to be surprised. He says the alleged heroin was actually laundry detergent. But the truth wouldn't come out until much later. After his arrest, Crull was jailed for 41 days and charged with trafficking heroin. Due to the severity of the charges, there was no way he could afford bond.

"It made the situation very real. [The judge] raised my bond to $100k to half a million dollars, so there was really no way I was getting out of jail," he told WPEC. Crull admits that he's been in trouble with the law before, but nothing this serious. "In the past, when I have gone to jail, it's been something where I knew I wasn't going to be there forever. It's a lot different than going to jail and the charge of trafficking of heroin carries a penalty of 25 years in prison," he explained to WPTV.

Crull was eventually released, though not before he spent Christmas and New Year's behind bars, after the sheriff's office tested the "heroin" again and discovered the truth. The trafficking charge was dropped, as was the count of marijuana possession.

This sort of story is more common than you might think. Reason has previously written about police misidentifying cotton candy and donut glaze for meth. In another case, North Carolina police bragged about a massive fentanyl bust, only to learn later that they had confiscated 13 pounds of sugar. The culprit in each of these cases were field test kits that provided false positives. Washington Post journalist (and former Reason staffer) Radley Balko even has a handy list of some of the things misidentified as drugs by field tests.

Crull's case, meanwhile, may have been part of a larger scandal that had nothing to do with malfunctioning field drug tests. The arresting deputy, O'Leary, has been fired after the sheriff's office discovered other discrepancies. In three recent narcotics arrests, O'Leary claimed field tests had revealed drugs. Further crime lab testing revealed that wasn't true.

O'Leary, who had been a Martin County sheriff's deputy since February 2018, had made about 80 drug arrests before being terminated. All of those are now under review, and 11 people, including Crull, have already been freed.

"It would have been a travesty to risk leaving anyone in jail," Sheriff William Snyder said at a press conference Monday, explaining that some of those released did have drugs in their possession, just not as much as O'Leary had initially claimed.

"It's better that 100 guilty people go free than one innocent person goes to jail," Snyder added. "Our goal is always justice, and there was more than enough reasonable doubt on our part on all those arrests that we would not have left anyone in jail one more minute." (1 image)

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Begin Trace Mode for Comment # 67.

#35. To: Deckard, misterwhite (#0)

Deputy Steven O'Leary claimed to have conducted a field drug test on the powder, and said it tested positive for heroin.

Perform that same test in court, under oath, and if it doesn't come up positive, give the "hero" deputy's house to his victim. His car too, if it isn't a piece of shit.

If the "hero" deputy objects, do it anyway, plus shoot his dog.

Hank Rearden  posted on  2019-02-05   16:39:57 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#40. To: Hank Rearden (#35)

Perform that same test in court, under oath, and if it doesn't come up positive, give the "hero" deputy's house to his victim.

It could have been a faulty test kit. You blame the cop for that?

Retest it in a lab and if the original test was a false positive, drop the charge. I believe that's the procedure.

misterwhite  posted on  2019-02-06   10:43:20 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#42. To: misterwhite (#40)

Retest it in a lab and if the original test was a false positive, drop the charge. I believe that's the procedure.

Only it takes 42 days, or sometimes, 5 years for them to get around to doing that. One woman was basically extorted into taking a plea deal over a white crumb in her car which ruined her career with a felony conviction, and it took that long for the lab to do the real test and determine it was not what the field test said it was.

I remember Nolu Chan seemingly not wanting to blame the legal system as broken for that, blaming instead the woman for not voluntarily remaining in jail, rejecting the advice of her court appointed attorney, taking it to court and risking years in prison, all without knowing the full ramifications of taking the plea deal. And that while she was aware of the possibility it was a piece of crack cocaine belonging to a hitchiker she had in the car at the time who denied any wrong doing.

Yes, a wonderful system we have her. Let's continue to use these faulty field test kits that cannot even be admitted in court to totally screw over people's lives.

Pinguinite  posted on  2019-02-06   12:52:39 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#50. To: Pinguinite, misterwhite (#42)

[misterwhite #40]

Retest it in a lab and if the original test was a false positive, drop the charge. I believe that's the procedure.

[Pinguinite #42]

Only it takes 42 days, or sometimes, 5 years for them to get around to doing that. One woman was basically extorted into taking a plea deal over a white crumb in her car which ruined her career with a felony conviction, and it took that long for the lab to do the real test and determine it was not what the field test said it was.

I remember Nolu Chan seemingly not wanting to blame the legal system as broken for that, blaming instead the woman for not voluntarily remaining in jail, rejecting the advice of her court appointed attorney, taking it to court and risking years in prison, all without knowing the full ramifications of taking the plea deal. And that while she was aware of the possibility it was a piece of crack cocaine belonging to a hitchiker she had in the car at the time who denied any wrong doing.

It did not take 5 years, or even 1 year, to test the sample. Albritton was arrested August 3, 2010, booked on August 4, 2010 at 3:37 a.m., and was convicted upon her plea of guilty on August 5, 2010. Following a guilty plea, confirmatory lab testing loses urgency. The lab test was performed on February 28, 2011.

There was no hitchhiker involved. The driver of the vehicle, Anthony Wilson, was her boyfriend who had no license to drive. As the owner of the vehicle, Albritton was responsible for what was found. Albritton consented to the search.

Albritton most certainly knew she was pleading guilty to a felony. She signed a waiver of indictment which read, "I am the defendant in the above felony information. My attorney has explained to me my right to be prosecuted by grand jury indictment, which I hereby waive, and I consent to the filing of the above felony information."

And there is the incident report:

Incident Report:
EVIDENCE:
OFFICER HELMS FOUND THE CRACK ROCK ON THE PASSENGER FRONT SEAT FLOOR BOARD AND TOOK CUSTODY OF THE EVIDENCE. I FOUND THE UNKNOWN POWER (sic) IN THE CENTER CONSUL (sic) AND THE USED NEEDLE HIDDEN IN BETWEEN THE LINING OF THE ROOF ON THE DRIVERS SIDE. OFFICER HELMS

You do not remember what nolu chan said in 2016. You misremember. As I noted in 2016:

The defendant's profession of innocence plays no role in explaining the legal alternatives and explaining an offered plea bargain. In this case, he [the appointed lawyer] should have explained that she could take 45 days or plead not guilty and possibly do several years, depending on the confirmatory drug test. Her professions that the drugs belonged to the boyfriend speak to her expectation that the presumptive drug test would be confirmed. It was her car. She got arrested because the evidence was found in her car. If the evidence were to be confirmed, she could/would be convicted.

If she pleaded not guilty and waited for the confirmatory drug test result, there is no guarantee the 45-day offer would still be there.

Albritton sued for damages in Federal district court in 2016. Her suit for damages was dismissed on the merits, with prejudice, on 28 March 2017.

Albritton et al v. The City of Houston, Texas et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston), 4:16-cv-02662, Doc 31, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER (28 March 2017)

[Excerpt at 13-14]

Albritton premises the County's liability on the District Attorney's Office's use of unreliable evidence as part of its actual prosecution and conviction of Albritton, its lack of appropriate policies related thereto, and its offer of a plea bargain to Albritton. These allegations involve "classic law enforcement and investigative functions" carried out by the District Attorney's Office in its prosecutorial capacity as an agent of the state. Id. at 855. Accordingly, Albritton's claims against the County are subject to dismissal.

[Excerpt, ORDER at 19]

For the foregoing reasons, it is

ORDERED that Defendants City of Houston and David Helms's Motion to Dismiss (Document No. 10) , Defendants Harris County, Texas and Harris County District Attorney Patricia Lykos's Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(6) (Document No. 13), Defendant Due Nguyen's Motion to Dismiss (Document No. 19), Defendants City of Houston, David Helms, and Due Nguyen's Supplemental Motion to Dismiss (Document No. 27), and Defendants Harris County, Texas and Harris County District Attorney Patricia Lykos's Supplemental Motion to Dismiss (Document No. 28) are GRANTED and Plaintiffs' claims against all Defendants are DISMISSED on the merits with prejudice. A Final Judgment will be entered separately.

nolu chan  posted on  2019-02-07   18:32:23 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#51. To: nolu chan (#50)

It did not take 5 years, or even 1 year, to test the sample. Albritton was arrested August 3, 2010, booked on August 4, 2010 at 3:37 a.m., and was convicted upon her plea of guilty on August 5, 2010. Following a guilty plea, confirmatory lab testing loses urgency. The lab test was performed on February 28, 2011.

Okay, great. I stand corrected.

But then they didn't bother to notify Albritton until July 29 2014, about 3.5 years AFTER they discovered she was innocent, and almost 4 years after the ordeal began.

www.nytimes.com/interacti...ent-Innocence-letter.html

And if the account of an investigative journalist is correct, it was that journalist that was the first inform Albritton of the formal lab results, not the prosecutor's office. So all in all there is/was still a FUBAR situation within the state's legal system.

This appears to be a reasonably factual rundown on all that happened which mentions not only Albritton but a few hundred others who took plea deals in cases where subsequent tests found no drugs were present from this one jurisdiction.

trofire.com/2016/07/11/di...ar-drugs-false-positives/

By your own postings, Albritton was told that if she plead guilty, she would receive a much lighter sentence. That in spite of the fact that when people are asked by a judge about their state of mind in relation to pleading guilty, they are supposed to be doing so WITHOUT it being in exchange for anything whatsoever. So if in her case, if she affirmed that, then she flat out lied to the judge when she did so. And she lied to the judge because it was required to save herself from years in prison.

And anything and everything she signed and/or confessed to in official legal documents was done done *under coercion*. Now you can pretend that there was no coercion there if you want and cite the court verdict, but that is simply living in denial. Just because the courts are obligated to pretend that the papers she signed were signed honestly without coercion doesn't mean there wasn't any coercion because everyone knows it's there.

EVERYONE who pleads guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence lies when they say they are doing so freely and NOT in exchange for something.

It is all a total farce. I know it, prosecutors know it, those taking plea deals know it, and the judges know it too. But on paper it looks good so that's why it's required. You seem to be the only one that is in denial as you essentially treat the legal system as a priest would treat his religion. And I'm totally serious about that. I totally respect you for your desire for accuracy in all legal matters, but at the same time, I do criticize you for failing to recognize that the system, quite often, fails and does so in a manner that is not the fault of the people who are wrongly convicted EVEN IF they take a plea deal. This is a case of "the customer is always right" and the customers are the average people, like Albritton.

And it failed Albritton along with hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of people.

Pinguinite  posted on  2019-02-07   22:32:00 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#56. To: Pinguinite (#51)

https://www2.libertysflame.com/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=47033&Disp=26#C26

nolu to Pinguinite, #26 of August 1, 2016; Pinguinite plea bargain

#26. To: Pinguinite (#23)

[nolu chan #21] Whether or not to take a plea deal must be judged at the time the offer is made, not under different circumstances that may later arise.

[Pinguinite #23] Her chances were 100% of either aquittal or, more likely, charges dropped. Pleas can be changed later. Or is your idea of a decent justice system one where innocent people are compelled to gamble with the outcome?

Her chances, at the time she pleaded, were about 100% for conviction. Her only hope was that the confirmatory test came back negative, and she was blaming the drugs on the 30-day boyfriend. And once your guilty plea is accepted, it not often that you get a mulligan.

Who keeps "a used needle hidden in the lining on the roof," also identified as a syringe? It was confiscated for suspected trace evidence. It was not tested at the much later date. If the syringe were stuck in the lining, trace evidence could have been wiped off when it was inserted and removed. Had the case gone to a contested trial, the area where the syringe was inserted very well might have had a sample removed and subjected to testing. The guilty plea made that unnecessary.

The absence of guilt means "not guilty" and you know that, so you cut the bullshit. "Proof of innocence" is proof of a negative and not the burden of the defense.

Not guilty does not mean innocent. It means not being proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. O.J. was found not criminally guilty by proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but the civil case, O.J. was found liable by a preponderance of the evidence. The absence of evidence did not prove Albritton innocent.

Or is your idea of a decent justice system one where innocent people are compelled to gamble with the outcome?

As your agreement to a plea bargain spoke so eloquently, you did not want to gamble on trying to sell your legal theories to a jury or a judge.

Perhaps your idea of the ideal justice system is one without plea bargains. In such a system, you can plead guilty or go to trial on every case. So, the innocent murder defendant cannot plead to a lesser offense. He must take his chances. Undoubtedly, more innocent people are sentenced to death after a jury verdict than after a plea bargain. The Innocence Project (Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld, et al.) regularly proves that juries are not infallible, prosecutors do not play by the rules, and law enforcement or expert witnesses tell lies and present junk science. You are greatly mistaken in your belief that an innocent person will gain an acquittal at a jury trial.

Speaking of your faith in jury trials, I note that before you entered into a plea bargain, you had already waived your right to a jury trial and chosen a bench trial.

Albritton choose not to risk trial for good reason. She had no reasonable expectation that the confirmatory test would be negative.

Choosing to go to trial was a crap shoot you chose not to make, for good reason. You had no reasonable expectation that anyone would accept your excuses.

Plea bargains are a judicial sham. If the state has a case, it should be compelled to make it. A right to a trial is just that.

There is a way to enjoy that right. Plead not guilty. This argument is a sham. It's like your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. You can waive it.

Your problem, like Albritton, was that you did not have a case. Albritton had only a Hail Mary that the confirmatory test would be negative. She was not willing to bet years of her life on a prayer she did not believe in.

Your Cliff's Notes defense:

With that, of the five charges, (no headlights, no DL, refusal to provide registration, refusal to obey, and obstruction of justice), the second should be defective since I was actualy driving on a suspended license (a technicality, but acquitals have been made on less). The third, fourth and fifth should be beatable for lack of evidence of an actual order that was not obeyed and/or his coercive illegal order. The headlight charge appears the hardest to beat.

I took another look at the penalties for driving without a license and driving on a suspended license and discovered the laws had changed since I'd examined them in 1999. Back then, those two charges were punished identically: first offense was a fine, second and subsequent offenses earned up to 60 days in jail. (Incidentally, that is the reason I didn't bother to pay the fines from 1999. Maryland would have considered my subsequent driving illegal whether I paid the fines or not. Since I could not obtain a lawful driver license from either PA or Maryland, my choice was either be driving without a license or driving on a suspended. But with each carrying identical penalties there was no legal advantage in paying the fine so simply I opted to keep my money).

Now the laws had changed to driving without a license being only a fine for the first offense, and up to a year on the second offense while driving on a suspended was up to a year on the first offense. (A year!?) With that it appeared I benefited somewhat by getting charged with obstruction which 'only' carries a 60 day max penalty compared to a year with suspended. Perhaps I handled this arrest incident favorably after all.

(1) Driving down the street with the streetlights on, and your headlights off, and being stopped for not using headlights is hard to beat. It was May, 9:26 p.m., in Maryland. Sunset was at 8:13 p.m. and it was raining severely.

(2) No drivers license. As you said, "Maryland had me down for a suspended license." The lawyers straighten that out before trial. You can rely on, "I tried hard to get PA to take my application for one without the SSN, but failed. Driving for reasons of personal affair is still by moral dictates a right (it has to be)." Actually, operating a motor vehicle on the roads without a license is a crime. Having no registration does not fall under a secret moral rights codicil to the Constitution either.

(3) Refusal to provide registration. Cop wins. The cop will testify. And, as you said, "I don't even need to testify, probably, given the officer's own statement." Not testifying would be a wise decision, with the understanding that any argument would be hopeless, and you could only make things worse.

(4) Refusal to obey. As in refusal to provide any identification.

(5) Obstruction of justice.

Gerald Thomas Titus, Jr. v. State of Maryland

No. 6, September Term 2011, Opinion by Greene, J.

CRIMINAL LAW - OBSTRUCTING AND HINDERING A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IN THE PERFORMANCE OF A DUTY

The State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt each of the following elements of the common law offense of obstructing and hindering a law enforcement officer in the performance of his or her duty: (1) a police officer engaged in the performance of a duty; (2) an act, or perhaps an omission, by the accused which obstructs or hinders the officer in the performance of that duty; (3) knowledge by the accused of facts comprising element (1); and (4) intent to obstruct or hinder the officer by the act or omission constituting element (2). A conviction for this offense requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of actual obstruction or hindrance of a police officer. The four-part test for obstructing and hindering applies to all categories of the offense.

Hiibel v. Sixth Jud. Dist. Ct. of Nev., Humboldt Cty, 542 U.S. 177, 180 (2004)

The petitioner was arrested and convicted for refusing to identify himself during a stop allowed by Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1 (1968). He challenges his conviction under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution, applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment.

I

The sheriff’s department in Humboldt County, Nevada, received an afternoon telephone call reporting an assault. The caller reported seeing a man assault a woman in a red and silver GMC truck on Grass Valley Road. Deputy Sheriff Lee Dove was dispatched to investigate. When the officer arrived at the scene, he found the truck parked on the side of the road. A man was standing by the truck, and a young woman was sitting inside it. The officer observed skid marks in the gravel behind the vehicle, leading him to believe it had come to a sudden stop.

The officer approached the man and explained that he was investigating a report of a fight. The man appeared to be intoxicated. The officer asked him if he had “any identification on [him],” which we understand as a request to produce a driver’s license or some other form of written identification. The man refused and asked why the officer wanted to see identification. The officer responded that he was conducting an investigation and needed to see some identification. The unidentified man became agitated and insisted he had done nothing wrong. The officer explained that he wanted to find out who the man was and what he was doing there. After continued refusals to comply with the officer’s request for identification, the man began to taunt the officer by placing his hands behind his back and telling the officer to arrest him and take him to jail. This routine kept up for several minutes: the officer asked for identification 11 times and was refused each time. After warning the man that he would be arrested if he continued to refuse to comply, the officer placed him under arrest.

We now know that the man arrested on Grass Valley Road is Larry Dudley Hiibel. Hiibel was charged with “willfully resist[ing], delay[ing], or obstruct[ing] a public officer in discharging or attempting to discharge any legal duty of his office” in violation of Nev. Rev. Stat. (NRS) §199.280 (2003). The government reasoned that Hiibel had obstructed the officer in carrying out his duties under §171.123, a Nevada statute that defines the legal rights and duties of a police officer in the context of an investigative stop. Section 171.123 provides in relevant part:

“1. Any peace officer may detain any person whom the officer encounters under circumstances which reasonably indicate that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime.

. . . . .

“3. The officer may detain the person pursuant to this section only to ascertain his identity and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his presence abroad. Any person so detained shall identify himself, but may not be compelled to answer any other inquiry of any peace officer.”

Hiibel was tried in the Justice Court of Union Township. The court agreed that Hiibel’s refusal to identify himself as required by §171.123 “obstructed and delayed Dove as a public officer in attempting to discharge his duty” in violation of §199.280. App. 5. Hiibel was convicted and fined $250. The Sixth Judicial District Court affirmed, rejecting Hiibel’s argument that the application of §171.123 to his case violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. On review the Supreme Court of Nevada rejected the Fourth Amendment challenge in a divided opinion. 118 Nev. 868, 59 P. 3d 1201 (2002). Hiibel petitioned for rehearing, seeking explicit resolution of his Fifth Amendment challenge. The petition was denied without opinion. We granted certiorari. 540 U. S. 965 (2003).

[...]

Hiibel argues that his conviction cannot stand because the officer’s conduct violated his Fourth Amendment rights. We disagree.

Asking questions is an essential part of police investigations. In the ordinary course a police officer is free to ask a person for identification without implicating the Fourth Amendment. “[I]nterrogation relating to one’s identity or a request for identification by the police does not, by itself, constitute a Fourth Amendment seizure.” INS v. Delgado, 466 U. S. 210, 216 (1984). Beginning with Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1 (1968), the Court has recognized that a law enforcement officer’s reasonable suspicion that a person may be involved in criminal activity permits the officer to stop the person for a brief time and take additional steps to investigate further.

[...]

Petitioner further contends that his conviction violates the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on compelled self-incrimination. The Fifth Amendment states that “[n]o person … shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” To qualify for the Fifth Amendment privilege, a communication must be testimonial, incriminating, and compelled. See United States v. Hubbell, 530 U. S. 27, 34–38 (2000).

Respondents urge us to hold that the statements NRS §171.123(3) requires are nontestimonial, and so outside the Clause’s scope. We decline to resolve the case on that basis. “[T]o be testimonial, an accused’s communication must itself, explicitly or implicitly, relate a factual assertion or disclose information.” Doe v. United States, 487 U. S. 201, 210 (1988). See also Hubbell, 530 U. S., at 35. Stating one’s name may qualify as an assertion of fact relating to identity. Production of identity documents might meet the definition as well. As we noted in Hubbell, acts of production may yield testimony establishing “the existence, authenticity, and custody of items [the police seek].” Id., at 41. Even if these required actions are testimonial, however, petitioner’s challenge must fail because in this case disclosure of his name presented no reasonable danger of incrimination.

The Fifth Amendment prohibits only compelled testimony that is incriminating. See Brown v. Walker, 161 U. S. 591, 598 (1896) (noting that where “the answer of the witness will not directly show his infamy, but only tend to disgrace him, he is bound to answer”).

[...]

As best we can tell, petitioner refused to identify himself only because he thought his name was none of the officer’s business. Even today, petitioner does not explain how the disclosure of his name could have been used against him in a criminal case. While we recognize petitioner’s strong belief that he should not have to disclose his identity, the Fifth Amendment does not override the Nevada Legislature’s judgment to the contrary absent a reasonable belief that the disclosure would tend to incriminate him.

[...]

You could have argued in court, as you did in blog, that in Hiibel, "Contrary to popular belief, the question facing the court was not whether Hiibel was within his rights to refuse to give his name. That answer was already well documented and understood. The real question tackled was: 'What is the average IQ of the current supreme court justices' to which a majority gave a very unflattering answer."

I would not consider it a winning strategy. You can only be just so much of a dickhead with a cop, in the rain, backing up traffic, until a routine traffic stop threatens to be a stretch in jail. You were lucky to evade trial. They had you by the short and curlies.

Punishing people more because they choose one is a violation of a constitutional right. Ergo, plea bargains in exchange for a lessor penalty are really a violation of that right. That people freely choose them due to personal considerations doesn't change that.

You are entitled to your opinion and the courts are entitled to theirs. As I always say, their's carries more weight, so it pays to know what their opinion is before jumping in a pile of shit. Your novel idea of the constitution sounds good on a blog, but you hjave demonstrated that you know better than to try it in court when it is your own ass on the line.

As I quoted from the U.S. Supreme Court in Frye at #19,

Because ours “is for the most part a system of pleas, not a system of trials,” Lafler, post, at 11, it is insufficient simply to point to the guarantee of a fair trial as a backstop that inoculates any errors in the pretrial process. “To a large extent . . . horse trading [between prosecutor and defense counsel] determines who goes to jail and for how long. That is what plea bargaining is. It is not some adjunct to the criminal justice system; it is the criminal justice system.” Scott & Stuntz, Plea Bargaining as Contract, 101 Yale L. J. 1909, 1912 (1992). See also Barkow, Separation of Powers and the Criminal Law, 58 Stan. L. Rev. 989, 1034 (2006) (“[Defendants] who do take their case to trial and lose receive longer sentences than even Congress or the prosecutor might think appropriate, because the longer sentences exist on the books largely for bargaining purposes. This often results in individuals who accept a plea bargain receiving shorter sentences than other individuals who are less morally culpable but take a chance and go to trial” (footnote omitted)). In to­day’s criminal justice system, therefore, the negotiation of a plea bargain, rather than the unfolding of a trial, is almost always the critical point for a defendant.

That is not my opinion. It is the U.S. Supreme Court describing the system as it is. It is reality and not one of your fantasies.

Yesterday after seeing your response, I went out to the market. Bought some strawberries....

I take it you already had some steel balls to roll around in your hand, and someone stole your strawberries.

Living outside the USA is a very eye-opening experience, and one that gives a good contrast of culture and law as well, among other things.

You get to shop for fresas and uvas and ananas and such at the mercado. And vino may be cheaper than coca-cola. I am reasonably certain that I have spent several times over whatever time you have spent outside the USA.

You learn that what works in the end is the final arbiter of winning or losing, not any laws per se.

To the contrary, I learned that under the Roman Code system, what is in the laws counts. It does not rely on a system of precedents as does the English Common Law System (the U.S. system). I understand Ecuador uses a Civil Code system, typical of Latin countries, and in the USA unique to Louisiana state law, derived from the Napoleanic Codes. Your comment leads me to believe you have not yet enjoyed the experience of being a party to litigation under the code system.

Though you'd disagree, human laws are actually fickle. We've seen that even in the USA with the decision not to prosecute Hillary over her emails.

Hillary was politics, not law. That was all the Executive Branch and there was no referral to the Judicial Branch. The judiciary is empowered to interpret and construe the law. Your fanciful proclamations of the law are presented to a blog. When it was time to try it in court, you wisely chose not to. It was your voluntary choice.

I do respect you for your tenacity and ability to cite so much legal material, court cases and such.

I respect that you have convinced yourself to the point that you so ardently believe the way things ought to be, that you ignore the way they actually are. If some poor dumb slob reads your junk and believes it, and acts on that belief, he can wind up in prison. I do write extensive corrections of the law not because I value legal fantasy, but because it poses a danger to the public.

As for using your magic eight ball to make all sorts of wild guesses about me, your magic eight ball appears to get everything wrong.

You have zero personal experience with the legal system.

I have a great deal more personal experience than you. You definitely need a new magic eight ball. You know even less about me than you do about the law.

nolu chan  posted on  2016-08-01   0:03:03 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

nolu chan  posted on  2019-02-08   2:55:31 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#57. To: nolu chan (#56)

You are quite the cut n paste expert!

Say what you will. I've seen the system from the inside. I suppose you haven't which makes me a better authority than you on the matter.

Pinguinite  posted on  2019-02-08   3:03:35 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#62. To: Pinguinite (#57)

You are quite the cut n paste expert!

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The 2016 thread got you to stick a sock in it for nearly three years.

Now, in 2019. you posted to misterwhite and did not ping me, you did not link or quote anything, did not identify the thread, did not reveal it was from 2016, and made believe you were acting on recall about something you attributed to me.

Mostly, you avoided linking or identifying the 2016 thread where you were shown to have accepted a plea deal. You acted as your own counsel, so you can't blame your counsel for the advice he gave you, and which you accepted.

And what you "recalled" and attributed to me was fictional bullshit.

Say what you will. I've seen the system from the inside. I suppose you haven't which makes me a better authority than you on the matter.

You profess to remain too clueless to realize that the overwhelming disposal of cases by plea bargain acceptance is how the system is designed to function, and how it functioned in your own case where you acted as your own counsel and advised yourself to cop a plea.

[Pinguinite #3] States should be obligated to prove all such cases and not simply accept plea deals.

Preach it, brother!!

nolu chan  posted on  2019-02-08   18:09:12 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#65. To: nolu chan (#62)

And what you "recalled" and attributed to me was fictional bullshit.

Law is your religion. Case law is your bible. You cite legal cases in a way that makes a bible believing Christian jealous. That is your world.

The topic on this thread: A guy spent 42 days in jail because cops couldn't tell laundry detergent from drugs. I have a problem with that, as I do a woman ending up with a felony conviction over aspirin and caffeine.

Both of those things happened because the system FAILED. You insist it's not a system failure because the system worked as designed, but guess what, bubblehead: If it happened because the system did NOT work as designed then that would NOT be a "system failure", but a failure of people work the system as DESIGNED, and we would instead look to understand why the people in the system did not do as they were supposed to. And I doubt you would call that a "system failure" then for those reasons.

No, for you, it's impossible for the system to ever fail.

Though there were apparently many problems on the part of the crime lab in Albritton's case, this is a problem NOT limited to a single police department. Yes, an overwhelming number of cases are settled in plea bargains and THAT is what's broke because people take pleas IN EXCHANGE for enormously lessor sentences, which contaminates the plea. It converts what is billed as an honest admission of guilt into something that has all the exact same hallmarks of a confession made under threat of torture.

Except in our legal system you insist is not a problem, anyone admitting to a crime under the threat of a 2 year jail time instead of 45 days is NOT being unduly coerced out of some bizarre theory that anyone truly innocent would be 100% confident of winning a not guilty verdict and would NEVER EVER, EVER plea guilty.

That is complete, unadulterated BULLSHIT but you stand in that bullshit wearing a straight face insisting there is no problem.

In these 2 cases we're discussing, they did go as they were "supposed" to go and as a result, INNOCENT people got slammed. The fact that it happened "as designed" is PRECISELY what makes it a "system failure".

Yes, that is why I make the observation that law is, for you, a religion. Just as religious zealots of whatever sort will NEVER find fault in their worshipped deity but instead blame all else for a lack of a perfect world, you will NEVER see any problem with our legal system. No, anything that goes wrong which causes innocent people to be damaged for crimes they did not commit is the fault of people not working the system correctly (in these cases the innocent people charged) but *never* the system itself.

Pinguinite  posted on  2019-02-08   21:13:45 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#67. To: Pinguinite (#65)

Case law is your bible.

When you are incarcerated, it better be your fucking bible, too. Dumb shit. There is only a few things that’s kinda comparable... but falls way short of case law. That’s a hack saw blade to escape or a bed sheet to hang yourself.

GrandIsland  posted on  2019-02-08   22:01:56 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


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