West Palm Beach, Fla. — US~Observer Special Report — Since his conviction of DUI manslaughter on Sept. 15, 2011, Jamie Clark has adamantly maintained his innocence. Clark’s attorneys, Benjamin Waxman and Alan Ross of Robbins, Tunkey, Ross, Amsel, Robins & Waxman filed a motion for post-conviction relief (new trial) on Feb. 13.
On March 1, Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeals granted Waxman’s motion, relinquishing jurisdiction to the trial court, giving the trial court power to rule on Clark’s argument that the State of Florida committed a Brady violation by withholding exculpatory evidence (evidence that could have been used to prove his innocence) during his first trial. Waxman’s motion referred to “newly discovered evidence” not being disclosed to the defense that clearly contributed to Clark’s conviction. The motion further claimed that ineffective assistance of counsel committed by Clark’s trial defense attorney violated Clark’s 6th Amendment right to be adequately represented.
Conservative Americans like to think they are defending the founding principles of the United States, defending individual rights and the Constitution. They are doing no such thing.
Don’t get me wrong. Conservatives study, express, believe in and support American principles. But defending? No.
On July 13, a jury of six women returned the only verdict it could, not guilty, in the false prosecution case of 29-year-old George Zimmerman.
Subsequent to Zimmerman’s shooting and killing Trayvon Martin in self-defense, Florida State Attorney Norm Wolfinger refused to prosecute Zimmerman after local police investigated the case and concluded that no crime had been committed. Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee was fired by Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte for refusing to arrest Zimmerman.
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.