Guest commentary, reprinted with kind permission of Steve’s Thoughtcrines.
Watch this movie, give it some thought.
Roman J. Israel, Esq.
This is movie not seen widely enough. This speaks to a truth in criminal justice that goes unspoken because “bargaining” from an “overcharge” is what DAs and defense choose rather than actually doing the work. Keeping the court dockets light is preferable to giving every person their day in court. And people admit to crimes they DIDN’T commit for fear of incarceration for decades, to secure a “smaller sentencing.”
For crimes they didn’t commit.
Add to that DAs receiving “bonuses” for every conviction, say in zero-tolerance domestic violence cases, where in years past “he said/she said” cases wouldn’t even be considered for prosecution. With the funding incentive for every conviction, any police report mentioning anything that can construed as “domestic violence” is charged (a man in Albuquerque was sentenced for throwing a roll of toilet paper against the wall, which never hit his wife), and every charge is fed into the “bargaining overcharge” machine because that’s the way it works.
People admitting to crimes they didn’t commit to receive a reduced sentence.
Again: For a crime they didn’t commit.
And too many of these coerced admissions are peers, peers without the financial resources to build a strong, dedicated defense.
And where are civil rights law entities like Disability Rights New Mexico in all of this? Complicity nowhere to be found.
I worked many years in jail diversion for peers. This is yet another way peers are victimized by a justice system unaware of peer suffering from systemic societal neglect.
Watch the movie, think it through.