The Big Think

March 20, 2014

Guilty

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:59 am

Our criminal justice system has become a crime: Column:

“When juries decide not to convict because doing so would be unjust, it’s called ‘jury nullification,’ and although everyone admits that it’s a power juries have, many disapprove of it. But when prosecutors decide not to bring charges, it’s called ‘prosecutorial discretion,’ and it’s subject to far less criticism, if it’s even noticed. As for prosecutorial targeting of disfavored groups or individuals, the general attitude is ‘if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.’

The problem with that attitude is that, with today’s broad and vague criminal statutes at both the state and federal level, everyone is guilty of some sort of crime, a point that Harvey Silverglate underscores with the title of his recent book, Three Felonies A Day: How The Feds Target The Innocent, that being the number of felonies that the average American, usually unknowingly, commits.”

Read the whole thing

1 Comment »

  1. ” if someone’s charged with 100 crimes but convicted of only one, the state should have to pay 99% of his legal fees.”

    Huzzah!! Now we just need to get that message repeated 4.5 million times and then the ship will gradually turn. My dad was suggesting something very much like this in the late 70s….

    Comment by barrybrake — March 21, 2014 @ 12:08 am

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