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This just shows significant parts of the government are rotten to the core. It's an issue most likely to affect people who are unable to afford good representation.

Let's be honest: courts in most western countries are only really accessible to upper middle class and/or wealthier people. If you do not have proper representation, you will probably lose in cases like these.

The fact that some random smuck is given this much power is shocking.




That is not true for most European countries. Nearly every case will land in court, and you have way fewer people ending up in jail. And if the chance that you'll get a long prison sentence is very low, people will accept a trial instead of getting a deal by pleading guilty.

Also, good lawyers in the US are more expensive than in most European countries (because university fees aren't as high), so you don't have to be rich to afford a lawyer.

Honestly, it's shocking how prosecutors can force people into pleading guilty, just because you might end up in prison for many years because of minor crimes. No other developed country has more prisoners/capita than the US, and it certainly doesn't make the US the safest country on the planet.


The issue of plea bargaining isn't so simple as it's made out to be (by people who don't have any idea of what the justice system actually does).

The overwhelming majority of people that go through the justice system are guilty. For every ambiguous charge, there are a dozen instances where someone was caught with drugs on their person,[1] clearly identified in a security tape robbing a store, etc. That's the bread and butter of the justice system.

Like every system, the courts have been optimized for the common case. That certainly has costs in the uncommon case--as optimizing for the common case always does. Maybe those costs are too much to bear. But it's not a simple issue of government being "rotten to the core."

[1] Whether you think having drugs should or should not be a crime is an entirely separate issue.


Considering the percentage of people on death row, which presumably has the highest bars for accuracy, that where found innocent I have doubts.


>by people who don't have any idea of what the justice system actually does

legal system, we do not have a Justice system it is a legal system

>The overwhelming majority of people that go through the justice system are guilty.

Guilty of victim less violation of legal Statutes that are not crimes at all. A Crime requires a complaining victim.

In order to seek justice there must be a person seeking said justice thus the need for a victim for there to be a crime. For example Growing the wrong plant does not produce a victim thus should not be considered a "crime"

>[1] Whether you think having drugs should or should not be a crime is an entirely separate issue.

No, far from it. It is the issue, the reason the courts need to be "streamlined" is because they have been over burdened by these non-crimes, as such they needed a process to shortcut due process and extort people into signing their legal rights away so they can persecute more people for more non-crimes


> No, far from it. It is the issue, the reason the courts need to be "streamlined" is because they have been over burdened by these non-crimes

Very true. If we had to actually have a trial it would interfere with the profitability of the criminalization cycle.

> shortcut due process and extort people into signing their legal rights away

Yeah, the prosecutors aren't in it to increase society's safety, or even to enforce laws, they're in it for their conviction stats. They'll do anything to game those numbers higher and it's easier to win convictions for strict liability crimes (possession, etc) so they focus on that.


Even if we concede that the overwhelming majority of people that go through the criminal justice system are guilty, US law has a presumption of innocence, perhaps for the very reason that the system should handle so many more guilty people that it makes everything much easier to assume guilt.

We have the standard "beyond a reasonable doubt" in a criminal trial, arguably calculated to let some criminals go to help ensure that we don't imprison as many innocent people as possible. With a presumption of innocence, the system should assume innocence even if dealing with 99.9% guilty people, and I would call any other optimization corruption enough.


But do you need to be punished if you've been caught with a small amount of drugs for personal use? Other countries drop charges if you're being caught with small amounts of certain drugs (e.g. UK, Germany), freeing up the court system and not punishing people who didn't cause any harm.


From his previous comments over the years, I presume Rayiner agrees with pretty much everyone else here that criminal punishment for possession of small amounts of drugs is a bad idea, and that criminal punishment across the board in the US is far too harsh.


Moreover: the condition of most criminal defendants being guilty is probably what we should want out of the system. If a substantial larger number of defendants weren't easy cases, we should instead be worried that prosecutors --- already in a fraught relationship with the public they ostensibly serve --- were further victimizing them by taking flyers.




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