What a disturbing quote and very telling about the state of our justice system.
In one episode after the defendant has been found not guilty, the judge presiding over the case berated them for not accepting a plea deal, and wasting the court time. This is after the person has been found not guilty.
 Examples: https://twitter.com/Popehat/status/1090313239995400192
"Popehat" is a well known attorney, Ken White. If he felt something was indicative, I would certainly believe him.
With that said, I don't know that he's trying to say that it is indicative so much as highlight interesting war stories.
I think it's best to not get fixated on that one event, and listen (if you listed to podcasts) to the entire season, which is apparently season 3, not 2 as I thought.
If you never have been involved as a 'criminal' in the USA court system it's a really huge culture shock and extremely dismaying to be treated as human refuse for the first time.
Most of the time we spend our time surrounded by people who care about us in one way or another. Your friends, your family, your partners, etc etc.
Even out in public the people you meet tend to have a reason to care about you. They are serving you or you are serving them for money.. so you have some reason to care. Even if you don't know them personally and they are a complete stranger there is almost always some reason, typically money, to be polite and take them into consideration. Even if it's phony it's still caring to a certain extent.. otherwise why put the effort into even being phony?
But when you are in jail or involved as a criminal... They have no such reason to give a crap about you. It's their day job. They get paid the same whether you are there or not.
In the court system you are treated with the same regard by court officials as a janitor would treat a full trash can. You are something that needs to be dealt with before lunch.
Sure if you are young or cute or innocent looking and it's your first time.. then maybe a Judge would be bemused with you and give you a break... But by and large you are just a impediment between now and when they need to visit the restroom or eat a sandwich.
You could be innocent, you could be guilty. It doesn't matter. Whether or not you are treated fair or not it's not relevant to them. You are just part of a process that needs to be processed. A button that needs to be pushed, some paper work that needs to be filled out. Some statistic that needs to be entered.
You going to court for some crime may be the most important day in your life. It could mean the difference between spending the next few years of your life in comfort with friends and family... or being stripped of all your rights, dignity, money, career, car, property, house.. and thrown in jail for 6 months or a year and then leaving with no prospects to basically be homeless after dealing with a divorce.
But for the other people in court? Chances are they won't even be able to recognize your face or remember you name in a day or two. You don't even be a memory. You are less relevant then the guy that sold them chicken nuggets for lunch.
If you are wealthy you could afford a lawyer who does have a reason to care and will give them reasons to care because he knows the court process and knows how to make it a big PITA to just brush you off... But that is not really relevant for most Americans.
And on the Federal level they typically try to freeze your accounts so you can't afford a proper defense anyways. Makes their jobs easier.
Wait wait wait what? Surely this can't be true? What's the justification for this?
The stated reason isn't to deprive you of money to fund your defense, it's something like an allegation that the money is the proceeds of a crime or whatever other pretext. Which you might have been able to disprove if you had the money to hire a lawyer. But now you don't, which is really why they do it, and then you can't adequately defend yourself against whatever other charges they levy on top of that either.
They also commonly try to keep the money -- even if you're not found guilty of anything:
Is this really what you see while fulfilling your jury duty? I dare say it's not the common impression people come away from the courtroom with.
Probably about halfway through the episode, maybe a little further.
It would be interesting to calculate the "default jail sentence" of the average citizen if an overzealous prosecutor decided to randomly harass them.
Consider, for example, the various congressional investigations of Hilary Clinton in 2014/2015. If everybody was guilty of some crime(s) punishable by jail time, it would follow that some of those overly brought criminal statues would have come up in those proceedings, considering there were any number of high-powered lawyers tasked with finding anything against her that would stick.
(The Clinton example may be imperfect because of partisanship, but I can't currently think of any other widely-known case where prosecutors were trying to "throw the book" at someone. I'm specifically not focussing on the main issues of those investigations, because those could never apply to the average person, so resist the urge to argue e-mail servers.)
The charge is that the definition of serious crime has expanded to make everyone liable to go to jail. Traffic infractions do not fit the charge, because while a large majority of people will at some point break those laws, very few people consider the rules of the road an oppressive plot to enslave the population.
I doubt there's a lawyer alive that has read all of the statutes that govern me in the jurisdictions I'm currently in (and all of the applicable caselaw that defines the jurisprudence and interpretation of those statutes).
You seem to be arguing the ability and likelihood of a guilty plea/verdict against someone winning in court (and the risk of the prosecutor's reputation for spending). That's a high burden compared to simply being objectively guilty (from a "God's eye view"). The difference is the gray area of interpretation, the burden of proof (especially when it comes to motives and state-of-mind).
How the FBI classifies something, is wholly irrelevant.
There are a lot of reasons to expect it not to be easy in that specific case.
The first is that she's a career politician and a lawyer married to a lawyer. That removes most of the low hanging fruit. She would be more aware of more of the laws that are easy to avoid breaking if you know they exist but most people break all the time only because they don't. Then she's not going to let herself be questioned without consulting legal counsel, which makes it a lot less likely they can prove something by getting her to admit to it.
On top of that, there are two kinds of laws that people break all the time, and neither of them are really suited for political cases like this.
The first is the really obscure laws or unusual circumstances. You have a pocket knife, you walk under an overpass which is technically state owned property, there is a law in that state prohibiting possession of a weapon on state property, etc. Or you have an unusual fruit in your bag on when you cross a border. Everybody breaks laws like this unintentionally, but these are the ones where (absent a surveillance state) it's a lot easier to choose an overpass and find a person walking under it than to choose a person and try to find evidence of a violation like this, and charging a prominent politician with something like that would immediately lead to mockery and claims of a politically-motivated prosecution.
The other is the ultra-broad laws they can charge anybody with (e.g. CFAA) because technically everyone violates them regularly. The problem there isn't finding violations, it's that the prosecutors won't want to risk using those laws in cases like that, because they find them too valuable in general and it's prominent cases like that which lead to them being narrowed by judges. The power of those laws for prosecutors is that you might be able to beat the charge, but only by spending millions on lawyers, which causes ordinary people to plead guilty. That doesn't work against someone like Hillary Clinton because she'll spend the millions on lawyers -- and potentially cost prosecutors future use of that law against the proles.
> The Clinton example may be imperfect because of partisanship, but I can't currently think of any other widely-known case where prosecutors were trying to "throw the book" at someone.
Think of cases where the accused isn't rich or politically connected, e.g.:
In particular, look at all the ancillary charges they tack on to make sure something sticks and consume defense resources. That's really common and is typically even worse in less high profile cases where there is less scrutiny of their absurdity.
"Since 2014, for example, she has only visited one client in jail, according to court receipts."
So any strategy discussion is minutes before copping a plea, etc. I'd call it a plea mill. Ugh.
Whether that is a good working assumption to begin with is another debate.
The second question is, "Should the court system act like the police only arrest guilty people"? And the answer is, absolutely not.
From your answer, I guess that you only cared about the second question. But the first question is the one raised by ProCicero, and is also an important question.
But also lots of serious crimes get swept under the rug because they will not prosecute with only flimsy evidence.
> What a disturbing quote and very telling about the state of our justice system.
Yeah, why are we charging so many innocent people with crimes? 1 in 20 seems a bit high. Ideally, cases with weak evidence wouldn't go to trial.
Votes. Prosecutors/Judges/etc. (depending on jurisdictions in the states) in the states are all about votes based on "being tough on crime". They depend on the police to get the people into the system and they take care of the rest.
The staggering amount of people being found innocent[0,1,2] is very telling about how the core righteous retribution drive of the system is damaging: It doesn't really matter who gets served on a platter for 'x' as much as it is that at least that someone is served on a platter.
Seemingly, they would rather put an innocent person up than to not have anyone served-up for judgment for a crime.
 - "*...a conservative estimate is that 1 percent of the US prison population, approximately 20,000 people, is falsely convicted." https://archive.fo/mKriP
 - https://archive.fo/ImQPL
 - https://archive.fo/wqBm3
3802/(5*365.25) ≈ 2.08 cases per day, every day in those five years including weekends, not just "more than one per workday". There is no way these cases are being handled adequately.
I get that the more than one a day refers just to felonies, but it's still ridiculous.
1787/(5*236)= 1.51 felony cases per workday.
Philosophically, DA's and public defenders fulfill a similar role in society. They both serve the public in fact-finding for criminal investigations through an adversarial process before a court of law. Depriving defendants of competent council severely undermines the entire process.
The problem sometimes is that the boss DA is still the boss and can just tell any of his assistant DAs to go after people so he looks "tough on crime". So even if all the ADAs are very empathetic, they aren't the ones making every decision.
I've listened to a lot of interviews with DAs and a lot of them actually do want to help these kinds of poor defendants, so they start out as public defenders. But then they realize that the real power is in the DA's office with sentencing and charging and such, so they switch over.
So maybe a year or two ago, he proposed setting up a GoFundMe-style NGO that would take every federal criminal case to trial. The argument being that it wouldn't take more than 10% (or whatever) to overload the system. And so defendants would get cases tossed based on the 6th Amendment.
Are you really going to turn down 6 months if there's a very real chance that you're going to get 25-to-life through a trial? If insisting on a trial means you spend weeks in prison and lose your job and house?
The solution is to give money to people who insist on or get a jury trial. Enough to make the "wait in jail for a trial instead of getting released immediately" feasible for people with families, and enough to make the risk of greater sentences at trial worth risking.
In practice, only people who actually wanted a jury trial would participate. And I gather they'd get funded for bail and/or family expenses, plus representation.
Also, is it really likely that defendants who might get 25 to life are being offered six months?
> The result, said lawmakers, judges and public defenders, are court delays that might violate defendants’ rights to speedy trials and could lead to the dismissal of criminal cases.
That does imply that the system is close to overload.
This type of system is what should happen in Detroit, but only if the public pushes hard for it will they find the funds.