Here we go again, or rather, it just keeps on going.
The Internal Revenue Service, the same agency that took lavish trips on the taxpayers’ dime and discriminated against conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, is up to its old tricks of threatening criminal charges against people who for years have sought to work out their back tax issues.
Sanford, Fla. — A Factual Accounting — George Zimmerman, a 29-year-old Hispanic man, is charged with shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin while conducting “neighborhood watch” on Feb. 26, 2012.
Government sources have informed US~Observer that the Sanford Police Department had no intention of charging Zimmerman with a crime and that it wasn’t until African-Americans from across the United States started protesting that the State of Florida stepped into the picture and filed a groundless, even ridiculous charge of second-degree murder against Zimmerman. State Attorney Angela Corey was assigned by the State to bring the false charge.
Plea bargaining is the process whereby a prosecutor comes to an agreement with a defendant to resolve a criminal case. Roughly 90 percent of all criminal cases resolve through the process of a plea bargain. The plea bargain is a contract of sorts, and the terms of the agreement often may vary considerably from one case to another.
A plea bargain will always include the defendant’s pleading guilty to at least one crime. What varies is the crime pleaded to or the punishment imposed. For example, a plea bargain occurs when a defendant is charged with two separate crimes, and he pleads guilty to one in exchange for a dismissal of the other. A plea bargain also occurs if the prosecutor offers a specific punishment and the judge agrees to it in exchange for the defendant’s pleading guilty. There are many variables that affect plea bargaining; however, the common thread in all plea bargaining is that the government avoids the burden of a jury trial and the defendant gets, in theory, a more favorable resolution of his case.
Before I began investigating legal cases as a journalist for the US~Observer, I had no idea how corrupt the justice system has become in many of America’s States and counties. I soon learned that in such places the American system of law has begun to resemble what I used to fear in Third World or underdeveloped countries like Mexico. Sadly, and it appears all too often, far too many Americans become casualties of these criminally unjust systems.
The first mistake typically made by victims is hiring the wrong attorney, who is more concerned about getting paid than he is in vigorously representing his client. Then, before the victim can fully fathom his precarious predicament, he winds up in front of a judge who is better at practicing cronyism than he is at dispensing fair and just law. Meanwhile, the victim’s disinterested lawyer is either an accomplice, unable or unwilling to do anything about the injustice.
It’s not very often that someone can say, “I fought the law, and I won.” However, 66-year-old James Roberts can rightfully say those words. Roberts was charged with one count of reckless driving and two counts of recklessly endangering another person. The charges were for allegedly endangering U.S. Forest Service (USFS) employees Sean Thomas and Donald Ross. Each charge carried a maximum penalty of one year in jail.
Facing a three-year sentence if convicted, Roberts was offered 18 months’ bench probation, no jail time, a three-month license suspension and some fines and fees if he entered a guilty plea and sold out to the criminal justice system.
A plea bargain is defined simply as a “deal” between a criminal defendant and his/her prosecutor. The accused gets a reduced charge or charges and subsequent sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to a lesser crime. Most qualified information shows that plea bargains take place in 90-plus-percent of all criminal cases filed in the U.S. each year and innocent victims of false prosecution feel the brunt of it.
Usually, an innocent defendant is charged with numerous (stacked) criminal charges and they are informed by their own attorney that they are facing many years in prison. The defendant’s attorney usually explains the downside to not accepting the plea bargain (lesser sentence) in a subtle, yet alarming manner. Faced with a life-ending sentence if convicted on the stacked charges, most defendants break and take the deceptive plea bargain.
Ah, the justice system — a murky, corrupt monstrosity that feeds itself with fines and fees, preying on the very people it is supposed to protect. Growing beyond the protection of the innocent to the pursuit of its own interest, the justice system, along with the Bar (together known as the legal system), generate an exorbitant amount of revenue each year. Do you really think they want to give that up for the sake of justice?
Certainly not, at least not willingly.
America’s current criminal justice system (CJS) is a labyrinth of procedures, favoritism, incompetence, hypocrisy, theft of rights, speculation and abuse. It is an albatross to many innocent people. While there are ethical people within our CJS, the US~Observer deals only with the corrupt ones; when a prosecutor or police officer serves justice, we make every attempt to praise him.
When an innocent person is charged with a crime today, the prosecutor or the police conduct very little, if any, meaningful investigation. The first course of action for the CJS is to charge that person with a crime and then contact the local media so they can inform an extremely naïve public of the charged person’s guilt. In other words, the CJS starts its public assault of the falsely charged person to that person’s future jury pool. In many instances, the mainstream media publish as facts absolute lies for police and/or oppressive prosecutors.
Nothing is more loathsome than a prosecutor who knowingly pursues an innocent person for a crime he did not do, yet this practice happens on a daily basis. Even more despicable is when that same prosecutor does everything in his power to destroy a person for pleading innocent and trying to mount a defense, yet this, too, happens almost daily.
Should you ever be charged with a crime you did not do, prepare for a fight. Bud Sonnentag of Nye County, Nev., a Vietnam War hero, found out firsthand that if you don’t take a plea deal and you fight for your innocence, the prosecutors take it personally. Sonnentag said, “At every turn, there were the prosecutors stacking charges if I didn’t comply to their wishes.”
Justice is supposed to be blind. It’s supposed to be equal and fair. It’s supposed to be everything our system no longer is.
There are two phrases important enough to be inscribed on the exterior of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.: “Equal Justice Under Law” and “Justice, the Guardian of Liberty.” Sadly, and due in large part to a shift in how prosecutors do their jobs and are allowed to operate above the very law they supposedly represent, these tenets — the founding principles of our justice system — have seemingly been replaced with “Justice Dispensed Without Equality” and “Injustice, Usurper of Liberty.” True justice suffers now from a system designed to get the highest conviction rating and the most fines and fees. Gone are the days of caring about guilt and innocence. Why bother when you can create an air of perceived guilt? As long as the public believes, guilt is really in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? Not to those falsely accused, not to those who are innocent but sitting in a prison, not to those who fight for the innocence of their loved ones: It’s not right if we ever want to truly live in the “land of the free.”