Bad Prosecutors

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Over at The Agitator, cast your vote for 2007's worst prosecutor of the year.

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  1. They’re all rotten, but Allgood got my vote because his sloppiness and stubbornness (and complete lack of concern for justice) nearly killed people. I don’t understand the thinking behind a person wanting to block evidence that may exonerate an innocent person (or definitively condemn a guilty one). It’s a person’s life, after all.

  2. I was all set to vote for Mary Beth Buchanan, then I read the case against Forrest Allgood.

    He ‘wins’ by a mile. Hey, if you are going to bear false witness, you might as well do it in a manner that leads to murder. That way you can violate two commandments at once!

  3. What’s worse, Andringas further acknowledged to NY Times columnist John Tierney that the 25-year sentence was harsh, but that “Paey was to blame” for refusing a plea bargain. In other words, Andringas allowed Paey to receive a sentence Andringas himself believes Paey didn’t deserve because Paey insisted on his constitutional right to a jury trial.

    Let’s try and separate this statement from the egregious case being discussed, Radley. If it was for a real crime instead of the bogus case under discussion, for example someone accused of murder, would you have the prosecutor offer a plea bargain (say, 25-to-life), and if that plea bargain was turned down, put the hammer down and try the suspect on charges carrying a maximum sentence of 25-to-life? Gee, I wonder how many suspects would say, “I better take the sure conviction, rather than risk going to trial and getting a sentence that, in the worst case scenario, was identical to the plea bargain offered?”

    The whole frickin’ point of a plea bargain is to offer a lesser sentence in exchange for forgoing a jury trial for a much stiffer charge. Are you really arguing that we should do away with plea bargains?

  4. I think they need some serious reform.

    They’re prone to overcharging, and overburdened public defenders sometimes pressure their clients into accepting pleas they may not deserve.

    When you combine them with mandatory minimums, as in Paey’s case, they become especially problematic. Even if you’re innocent, it’s awfully tempting to take a plea for something you didn’t do than risk 25 years to life.

    Bit more on plea bargaining here:

    http://www.theagitator.com/2006/03/28/the-perils-of-plea-bargaining/

  5. Let’s try and separate this statement from the egregious case being discussed…

    WTF? Justice is supposed to be blind, not ignorant.

  6. Radley–You need an “all of the above.” Trying to decide which is the bigger scumbag among these 5 is like debating how much blacker the cover of Smell the Glove could be.

  7. The others made me outraged, but Allgood made me sick.

  8. Radley

    We want to see the final result of the poll.

    (Allgood had a big lead when I looked.)

  9. Radley, how would you propose reforming plea-bargaining? The excessive sentences available are a product of legislators who want to play “tough on crime” to a constituency that doesn’t understand the consequences of having excessive penalties. I’ve served as a legislative assistant, and seen legislators propose making relatively minor littering a felony.

    The prolbem isn’t plea-bargaining itself — IIRC, I read an article explaining how doing away with or limiting the scope of plea-bargaining would result in stiffer average sentences, which I doubt is the intended consequence of the “reforms” you would like.

    Fix the actual problem — renegade prosecutors and legislators (and voters who tolerate the above).

  10. Radley, how would you propose reforming plea-bargaining?

    The main reason plea bargaining is necessary is the number of cases filed. So start off by rescending about 80% of the laws people can violate, starting with all the consensual “crimes.” End the war on drugs, laws against consenting sexual behavior, gambling, and so forth.

    That would be a start.

  11. It sounds like these prosecutors all have the obstinancy mutant gene.

  12. Hmmm..

    Virginia – South
    Mississippi – South
    Florida – South (sort of)
    Georgia – South

    Maybe I’m pulling a correlation/causation error here…but I don’t think so. Is it a function of the Bible Belt, bad schools or both?

  13. “Distrust all in whom the urge to punish is powerful.”

    Yep, good rule.

  14. If only all the presidential candidates were as deserving of my vote.

  15. Fuck ’em all. Allgood only because of the death penalty factor.

  16. Sympathy vote for Nifong. Bad, but not quite bad enough to reach the top. Which is, ultimately, pretty sad in and of itself.

  17. Hmmm..

    Virginia – South
    Mississippi – South
    Florida – South (sort of)
    Georgia – South

    Maybe I’m pulling a correlation/causation error here…but I don’t think so. Is it a function of the Bible Belt, bad schools or both?

    Fairfax and Prince William counties are no longer part of the South in any meaningful sense. And Fairfax County’s public schools are reputedly among the best in the country.

  18. While they are all evil people, Allgood deserves to die in the most painful way that a human can die.

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