These are peoples lives, why is this system gamified? Why is it not a truth-seeking system? I am probably naive and don't see the full picture of all of this but it is confusing to me. The United States is known to be the country with the highest number of its citizens in prison. With a burdened legal system and little funding, why does this continue to be so? I find the barrier of entry to prison in the US very low compared to other countries I have lived in and visited. What are the advantages of this? I find this all very absurd.
If you're accused of being gay in 1880, a randomly selected truth-seeking arbiter might be very anti-gay as that was the median opinion in society at the time - or even subject to political pressure. Only by having free choice of who represents you can you get someone who isn't biased against you.
Of course, that's only the theory. How well it works in practice, particularly with under-funded public defenders, is a different matter!
It's clearly not the absolute most convincing argument, seeing as the US legal system has rules regarding the admissibility of evidence, which may disqualify certain arguments.
We need to find a way to change the motivation of the prosecution such that they want to actually solve these cases, regardless of how long it takes.
How about automatic criminal charge for withholding the evidence?
(In nearly all US jurisdictions where it is a crime, it matters whether the withheld evidence would have affected the outcome of the trial (i.e., is "material") as it is generally not a crime to withhold non-material evidence.)
Regardless, you're right and it can't be prosecutors all the way down. Ultimately if you're wronged by the Federal government you probably have to accept some kind of civil liability. Granted the US government isn't great at doing that either, but I think that's a different, largely unrelated problem.
I do too, and many citizens of the Soviet Union thought of that the same with "guilty no matter what" mentality dominating Union's legal system.
Unlike in USSR, American judges don't join their past clients in the gulag if they disagree with prosecutors. Why do they do it then?
Judges are meant to just be referees. Even if a judge thinks you're innocent and knows a defence you could use, they can't suggest you use it; they have to wait for your lawyer to bring it up.
Now yes, in theory, if you had an open-minded, honest, unbiased judge patiently investigate all the facts and make a decision, it would be more fair than having a highly-trained-and-motivated prosecutor "playing the legal game" to score political points against an overworked and underfunded public defender. But how can you be sure you only appoint open-minded, honest, unbiased judges?
Having the opportunity to state your own case in front of a selection of 12 random people has both a lower maximum but also a much higher minimum expected value.
Lobbying/special interest has pretty much ruined that though.
It gives you an opportunity to select the type of community you want to live in. Some elections are partisan and some non-partisan. If you’re in an liberal county you have the option to select a liberal candidate and vice versa. I doubt a very liberal or conservative community would want to be stuck with someone with opposing views.
While true that almost anyone will have some bias, it should (in my view) never be considered in the entirety of the system let alone as a starting point for the highest judge.
> I doubt a very liberal or conservative community would want to be stuck with someone with opposing views.
A conservative with a liberal judge would want the judge to be impartial to their view on politics.
You’re being naive if you think politics don’t shape laws or justice.
As for politics in justice, I'd like to think serious questions would be asked in my country if it came to light judges let their political believes affect their decisions.
I'm curious: how does that work out in practice? Do folks in the USA typically live in the type of communities they'd like to live in?
People have told me they want to move out of my county because it’s becoming too liberal, whether they actually do it or not is up for debate. Mostly cranky old people, family included.
The West has historically been a tough of crime (old Wild West) place. Here’s an interesting Sheriff from Phoenix, Arizona. Joe Arpaio. His tough on crime and immigration stance that made his career was also his down fall.
TL;DR if you take the view that justice is relative to the wishes of the local community then having these officials elected by the local community makes perfect sense.
It's a weird sort of legislature, though. It doesn't have the ability to originate laws itself: third parties have to propose laws to it. And those proposals have to be in the form of arguments that the actual laws passed by the legislative branch are unconstitutional. Once a party has managed to phrase his proposed law in that fashion, though, the Supreme Court is practically capable of passing any law, repealing any law, revoking any provision of the Constitution and amending the Constitution in any way it wants.
It's an odd system.
As an aside, in the US, in some jurisdictions including federal, being a lawyer isn't a requirement for judgeship.
How do you imagine a truth-seeking system would be different?
> These are peoples lives, why is this system gamified? Why is it not a truth-seeking system?
Which systems aren't "gamified"? Please point me to a "truth seeking system" that exists out in the world. Truth-seeking systems are an ideal.
The lawyer in this AMA, Sean O’Brien, argues for increasing the funding for public defenders. That's a smart idea. Lamenting the supposed awfulness of the system is lazy and useless.
As the author and jacquesm in this thread touched on :
> I don't think my case was directly race related. I do believe that failed public defender systems across the country has a race related component. Most people who need a public defender are either black or poor or both.
Most people who need a public defender are poor, and a large portion of the poor population is black.
> Watson was correct all along: He was a U.S. citizen. After he was released, he filed a complaint. Last year, a district judge in New York awarded him $82,500 in damages, citing "regrettable failures of the government."
> On Monday, an appeals court ruled that Watson, now 32, is not eligible for any of that money — because while his case is "disturbing," the statute of limitations actually expired while he was still in ICE custody without a lawyer.
We have a bizarre system.
> The two-year statute of limitations on his "false imprisonment" started ticking when Watson first went before a judge, the majority said. That meant it expired while he was still in ICE custody, without a lawyer.
A perfect example of bureaucracy and "the rules" used for evil.
It would be cheaper for everyone to just keep you unfairly.
This is where separation of powers is important. A judiciary shouldn't care that the executive branch is on the hook for compensation.
If they kept someone 2.2 years and then didn't compensate you could argue incentives to keep but after a certain amount of years it seems like there isn't any difference between what they actually are doing and how they would behave with incentive not to let you go.
Aside from that there could be ways to structure compensations, for example a scheme where you get less compensation per year for short time, more compensation per year for longer time might make them want to let you go and cut their losses once they determine you were innocent.
Elected judges and prosecutors may lose elections when the electorate hears they shell out huge compensations, especially to people the electorate is not really convinced are innocent (because unlike the judges, who were at the trial obviously, the electorate learned only a tiny fraction of information about a case from more or less reliable media sources at best, and outright rumors and gossip at worst).
Appointed judges are still appointed by somebody, and that somebody is a (group of) politician(s). These politicians have the same issues as the elected judges and prosecutors, and may avoid this (or even retaliate) by not appointing judges (to higher circuits) that are perceived to be risky in this regard, effectively killing the careers of these judges. So if you want to become an appointed judge, you still better pay close attention to the political scene and play ball.
Wisconsin's limit is $5k/year and $25k/total, which comes out to about 2% of the Federal hourly minimum wage in OP's case.
You can sue, but that risks the result being $0.
I've never been on a jury (and likely never will be - closest I got was "voir dire", and when I was questioned I inadvertently brought up the concept of a fully informed jury - and they dismissed all of us virtually then-and-there - that was over a decade ago and I have yet to be called for jury duty again), but from what I have read about other people who have, your fellow jurors, regardless of their intellect or life experience, really don't give a damn about seeking justice or truth, but rather the most expedient way to leave the whole thing behind and get back home.
Then - you get someone like me (who gets past voir dire of course) - who does want to get as close to the truth as possible by examining and questioning and discussing everything, and if there is any doubt - will not vote unanimously with everyone else (who just want to go home) - after being sent back to the juror's room a couple of times...well, most people would likely fold - because the other jurors gang up on them, scream, threaten to fight, argue, make other threats, etc - rather than actually do the job they were entrusted with - especially in a case where a person's life is at stake.
They are all quite selfish, and don't really care about the defendant, and almost actively hate a fellow juror who does care about the process, about what is at stake, and about coming to the most just conclusion (especially if that conclusion is "the law is wrong"). Jurors tend to forget that the jury is one of their most important Constitutional rights and duty as citizens in the United States; as the saying goes,
“A man's rights rest in three boxes. The ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.”
Let's hope we never again need to use the last one, which is why the jury box is so important.
The jurors are not random. The prosecution will dismiss jurors until they find enough totalitarian, axe-to-grind morons as is necessary to convict.
This popped out for me because, having time to read, is always the first thing that comes to my mind about being imprisoned.
I cannot fathom working on a product like this, to extract as much as possible from people who already have almost nothing. It makes my blood boil.
I suppose it was inevitable that as my word-base broadened, I could for the first time pick up a book and read and now begin to understand what the book was saying. Anyone who has read a great deal can imagine the new world that opened. Let me tell you something: from then until I left that prison, in every free moment I had, if I was not reading in the library, I was reading on my bunk. You couldn’t have gotten me out of books with a wedge. Between Mr. Muhammad’s teachings, my correspondence, my visitors—usually Ella and Reginald—and my reading of books, months passed without my even thinking about being imprisoned. In fact, up to then, I never had been so truly free in my life.
I should also say that I was/am the victim of a crime that, while I wouldn't feel comfortable talking about it here, would normally get someone the death penalty.
The primary reason that I don't support the death penalty is that I don't think that the state can be trusted to kill people humanely. It took me years to come around to this, but I also believe that it isn't punishment. It's revenge.
The reason that I don't support terms longer than 20 years is that, no matter how uncomfortable it is to think about it, its abuse is more horrifying than the crime. Our prison system is barbaric.
Google "California prison gladiator" and tell me that Abu Ghraib was a bunch of bad apples. Prisons produce that kind of abuse systematically.
No matter how bad a crime committed by a single individual is, an institution that that produces the outcomes like those that out prison system creates is worse.
Where I'm from, the prison system has a legacy that is intrinsically tied up to the slavery of the pre-civil war era. Some southern states even have prisons on the grounds of former slave plantations.
In fact one of the things that most american's don't know is that slavery is not prohibited by the constitution. The amendment that banned slavery left a clause in place for prison inmates. This is particularly grotesque because they are still counted for the purposes of determining representation in congress based on population.
Also, prison guard unions aren't prohibited from lobbying state or federal government to pass longer sentences. Never mind for-profit prisons, even prisons run by government aren't free from commercial pressures to keep prisons full.
I'm intimately aware of how horrible crime can be, but prisons do not stop crime.
To increase the horror of this- some southern states have prisons on the grounds of former slave planations, whose majority black prison population works the field of said plantations for less than a dollar an hour.
I get it. I didn't get murdered. That's not the only way that someone is victimized by the violent death of someone they love. Again, there's more to it than I'm going to go into here, so if you could just cut me some linguistic slack I would appreciate it.
EDIT: I hope this doesn't sound overly aggressive. It wasn't intended to be.
Apparently in Missouri, state law says he's owed no money for being imprisoned unless the wrongful conviction was due to DNA testing.
He now supports himself through his book sales and speaking tours. That's one way to support him.
If you want to support Midwest Innocence Projecj: https://themip.org/donate/
> There ought to be no jails; and if it were not for the fact that the people on the outside are so grasping and heartless in their dealings with the people on the inside, there would be no such institutions as jails .... The only way in the world to abolish crime and criminals is to abolish the big ones and the little ones together. Make fair conditions of life. Give men a chance to live .... Nobody would steal if he could get something of his own some easier way. Nobody will commit burglary when he has a house full. The only way to cure these conditions is by equality. There should be no jails. They do not accomplish what they pretend to accomplish. If you would wipe them out there would be no more criminals than now. They terrorize nobody. They are a blot upon any civilization, and a jail is an evidence of the lack of charity of the people on the outside who make the jails and fill them with the victims of their greed.
—Clarence Darrow, An Address to the Prisoners in the Cook County Jail, Chicago, Illinois-1902
> Nobody would steal if he could get something of his own some easier way. Nobody will commit burglary when he has a house full.
is complete nonsense when contrasted against modern times.
All the thieves in jail are not there because they stole to feed their family or some other noble deed.
There are a whole lot of reasons for that. Our history of racial injustice absolutely destroyed so many black communities, to a degree I hadn't appreciated before I considered it. Closing the asylums (which really were awful, but also really were needed) was another problem. The widespread attitude that the justice system is to punish the guilty rather than reform people who have done bad things is another. I suspect that the fact that Americans descend from folks who were so unusual that they fled across continents and oceans to get away from their communities can't possibly help.
But for all that, prior to the tough-on-crime movement we really did have a problem with real crime — by 'real' I mean crime with actual victims. Things are much better now, and we are much richer now, and so now we have the luxury of being smarter.
I'd say he spent 22 years earning it.
Most high profile cases of wrongful conviction or almost-wrongful-convictions in Germany are sex crimes or connected to sex crimes with very little reliable evidence.
> The cops don't want to sort anything out, they aren't on your side. They want to nail you. That's all they care about. They have a job to do. That job is to find someone to blame for this problem. So they're gonna do that.
Police in a certain sense always wants to nail people after a crime has been committed. The difference is perhaps that US cops are more happy nailing any convenient person, while police elsewhere rather want to nail who actually did it, which of course does not mean they actually do.
Apart from being directly connected to a serious investigation in which case it is probably most wise to consult a lawyer in any case, I don't have issues talking to the police, be it reporting something or asking for help. If people regard police as an oppressive force that better not be involved in things, that clearly suggests a big problem with the police.
This seems like gross assumption. I have no doubt there are plenty of genuinely good American cops who want to do what is right. But the bad cases of the entire nation float to the top of the newspapers/internet and give the impression that the whole country is this way.
I've yet to see actual statistics of wrong imprisonment rates in the US vs. EU. And I'm sure if you broke if down by state you'd find some states have even better cops than EU.
America is fairly unique in that its justice system is so driven by money, but good lawyers are expensive everywhere.
I refused military service (Norway has compulsory conscription for men) , and when the DOJ sued to get a declarative judgement that I was not entitled to do so, I got one of the best lawyers in the country appointed for free.
The system still has lots of issues, but that part for the most part works very well in avoiding the issue of the prosecutors being able to bully people into submission.
The lack of plea bargaining also helps, but that is contingent of first having good enough provisions for public defence.
There was another case, more recently:
I suspect it happens in all countries (some more than others, probably). No human institution is perfect.
When you read about the history of the prison / legal system in the US it makes sense though.
We have better protections in the US against self-incrimination than most other 1st world countries. In most other places I'd talk to a lawyer first but plan on talking to the police once I had counsel.
What I find really appalling, besides the letters by the lawyer is that the attempt to have her changed was submittd to court on a pre-printed form, which means logically that it is very commmon to have "free" defenders doing nothing.
The way the form is laid down, the five pre-printed "statements of facts" are an exact list of infringements to all the duties that a public defender should have and represent IMHO serious accusations that in other countries would likely trigger at the very least an "ethics" investigation on the lawyer.
Besides any reason, true or false, given for requesting the change of one's defense, having it granted should be a basic right.
The death penalty would only apply to clear-cut cases. And there have already been a bunch of those (mass shooters, etc.).
There are two reasons we can’t just have a higher standard for the death penalty. The first is that there isn’t a sensible standard stronger than proof beyond reasonable doubt. The second is that even if we impose a higher standard, that standard won’t be enforced correctly. Similar to how proof beyond reasonable doubt isn’t enforced correctly now.
This is different from what I wrote. When there's a serious punishment like the death penalty, then any ounce of doubt should waive it. Other lesser punishments can still hold if evidence is strong enough.
Remember that what is so clear to you might be not so clear to a judge or to the person next to you.
It's also crazy to think he gets no state compensation for this sort of thing.
Judges may be guided by personal biases. That does happen. To balance that, ordinary citizens are drafted as layman judges (Schöffen) to assist in more important cases for fixed terms (not individual cases). They are present to balance out professional judges and any biases they may develop as part of the system. They are passive observers in the court room, but have an equal say in deciding the final judgement. So this may lead to panels of up to five judges presiding over a case.
The resulting system is not perfect. But I got the impression from my personal experience that it is quite fair and balanced over all. It isn't a perfect system, and some egregious errors are made. Some have ruined lives unnecessarily. But on average, it still looks fairer to me than what I hear about the US system.
As someone once falsely accused of a crime and facing 12 years in prison. I went to trial and I have some advice for people.
1. You gotta start acting and thinking like you're guilty. Ask yourself "if I was guilty and trying to get away with this, what would I do?"
When you're innocent you think that your innocence means something. It doesn't. Discount it and move on.
2. Get the best lawyer you can not afford. Borrow from anyone and everyone. I borrowed 120k for my trial. Had to work my ass off to pay people back but it was worth every cent.
EDIT: Another mindset to use is to remember it's NOT a justice system. It's a legal system, so get the best damn team you can. Because you're in a legal game not a justice game. Know what game you're playing before you step on the floor.
3. Never ever ever ever talk to the cops. Retain your right for silence. It's the greatest gift you have. The cops don't want to sort anything out, they aren't on your side. They want to nail you. That's all they care about. They have a job to do. That job is to find someone to blame for this problem. So they're gonna do that. Don't help them do that. Save your ammunition for trial. My jury ended up laughing at the prosecutor and the investigating officer in the trial.
I was acquitted of 13 charges in under 70 minutes by my jury. If I had of used a public defender I would be in prison still. With another 6 years to go.
Hopefully this advice helps someone else. Hit me up if you're in trouble with the law and just want an ear to listen.
PS. If you're guilty, I got nothing for you, no idea how to help you.
That's the same advice usually given here when someone is asking how to deal with HR.
Obviously we can't "take the fifth" since we don't share the US constitution, but we do have a right to silence when you're the defendant in typical criminal proceedings and you can't be held in contempt for that silence. However there is no right to silence for example during investigations by the Serious Fraud Office, or when requiring disclosure of encryption keys under RIPA. However in the case of a SFO investigation, if they then want to charge you criminally, you have the right to silence and they can't use evidence you've been compelled to give previously. The RIPA stuff is bullshit and is widely considered overreach but the powers that be really don't want to change it for obvious reasons.
In criminal proceedings, you have a right to silence - however in limited, defined situations, adverse inferences can be drawn from that silence. Adverse influences can't be drawn until you've had the opportunity to seek legal advice, so the advice to shut up and ask for a lawyer still stands.
The cases where adverse influences can be drawn are things like refusing to answer why you were in a particular place at the time of arrest and for example only coming up with an answer days later or even at court. Your lawyer will of course advise you what you need to answer.
That said, irrespective of what the law says and how the judge directs the jury, nothing can stop them drawing adverse influences from whatever they want to draw adverse influences from. So it's possibly worth considering that when deciding to remain silent.
The UK right to silence is pretty well summarised in the modern wording of the police caution: "You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."
Staying silent is not obstruction of justice or contempt of court. No one is ever required to respond to questioning. But it might lose you credibility in court of you produce an alibi or other defence at trial that you didn't mention during questioning.
The only exception is passwords and encryption keys, which have to be supplied if a court order is obtained and aren't considered testimony.
The reason for the change (AIUI) was due to the arrest of IRA dissidents who remained silent and then produced alibis in court that would have been easy to dispel at the time but were not so easily dismissed in court, once they had gathered support from their communities.
Incidentally, the 1994 act also banned music containing "repetitive beats" and legalised anal sex between heterosexual couples, albeit with a number of caveats and conditions.
More info is available at the Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_Justice_and_Public_Or...
I do not know what edge cases the addition of "But, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court." was meant to protect against, and how, but it is absolutely nowhere near obstruction of justice or contempt of court.
Technically this is true. If you make a statement to the police, then that statement can be used as evidence at trial (both against you and in your defence). If you don’t make a statement, then the only way to get your testimony in front of the jury (should that be necessary), is to take the stand, where you will be subjected to cross examination. A process where you (probably not a lawyer) will have to argue with a lawyer who will be doing their best to make you trip over every single thing you say, in front of a jury, for a number of hours.
So while it does potentially have a benefit, it’s still always a bad idea, because you’ll want to see the discovery before you say anything at all.
Your explanation for the UK police caution phrasing makes perfect sense, but I wonder now if it's not meant to scare people into talking?
I don’t know the motives of putting that in the warning. But it is at least true, even if it’s almost universally not a good idea.
For starters the prosecution isn't trying to scare people into a plea bargain. Many places the police aren't allowed to lie to you.
And many places the police can be called to testify on your behalf.
People talk all of the time without lawyers, thinking lawyering up might make them look guilty.
> The shock and surprise of the accused was palpable from the transcript and believeable.
In the US, the cops try very hard to question you (for hours) without one. And while there is a public defender system, it doesn't usually provide a competent lawyer.
This is well documented in the (very readable) book "The Secret Barrister".
The author claims that the cuts are not even cost-effective, often leading to more spending by government to deal with the consequences.
Public defenders also get far less resources than prosecutors.
But what actually happens is that the system makes them incompetent simply being in the job. For example, the caseload is too high, which means that they cannot spend the time a paid lawyer would spend on it. Folks also get little choice in which of these cases they take and which they do not. On top of all of this, they are working in a system stacked against them and they usually aren't getting paid much.
"I'm asserting my 5th amendment right to silence not because I believe I have done anything wrong but because anything I say can and will be used against me in a court of law"
But the usual advice of - don't say a damn thing until you have legal representation still stands.
It seems somewhat reasonable to me - if you have an alibi then you should tell that to the Police as soon as practical. Otherwise you're wasting everyone's time.
Do not take this advice. Talk to a lawyer.
If you have an alibi, you can tell your alibi to a lawyer, and your lawyer can communicate your alibi to the police before you go to trial. You won't be wasting anyone's time, you'll just be giving the police the same evidence through someone who is trained to talk to police officers, and isn't going to accidentally say something that's misinterpreted or twisted to turn your life into a nightmare.
If you are being suspected of a crime, it doesn't matter if you're innocent -- the police are not your friends.
It is a fact full stop that a jury can hold it against you if you unreasonably delay giving important information - it's not my opinion.
You should not sit down and talk to the police unless your lawyer is sitting directly next to you. Ideally, your lawyer should contact the police on your behalf with your alibi and you should never directly talk to them.
We can't realistically keep a jury from holding that against you the same way that we can't realistically keep a jury from randomly misinterpreting the law, or convicting someone just because they're black -- but we make it clear to them that they're really not supposed to. And the risk from talking to the police without a lawyer present is much higher than the risk of a jury punishing you for exercising your 5th Amendment rights -- you should err on trusting a jury to do the right thing more than you should err on trusting a prosecutor to do the right thing.
No we don't in the UK.
So the basic advice not to talk to the police holds.
It is unreasonable to expect a person to know the detailed workings of the legal system. It is therefore unreasonable for there to be any negative consequences whatsoever for waiting until there is a legal expert present.
You don't need to be a legal expert to answer basic questions from a Police officer about did you do something or were you in a location at a time. They aren't lawyers either! And I didn't say you couldn't ask for a lawyer and wait for one to turn up before answering...
But if they charge you for speeding, and then you wait six months until the trial, and claim only at that point that you weren't the one driving. Come on... that's a waste of society's time.
Their job is to collect evidence and send it to the prosecutor. They're given wide latitude to collect it as quickly as possible, and while law enforcement and the public attorney's offices are by and large just trying to see justice done fairly, they're almost always understaffed and over-pressured.
People act weird in pressure situations. Law enforcement personnel deal with law breaking every day, but the rest of us don't. If you're innocent and confronted with an accusation of a crime, in your resulting heightened emotional state, you don't want to say something stupid or in a way that makes you look unnecessarily suspicious.
In this situation it should be ok for you to not answer questions, wait until your involuntary adrenaline reaction wears off, and then have a conversation about it.
I don't think it is if you know someone else committed the offence and they are still out there, potentially still offending.
If you know the identity of a rapist, saying 'I'm not going to talk to the Police until convenient for me' is a rotten attitude.
Wrong. In interviews, the police can (and do) lie, lead, present circumstantial evidence as smoking guns, etc. They are not lawyers, but they are well versed in the law. They are also in all probability more experienced in asking questions and interviewing than you are, even if you're smarter than them.
Everything you say to the police can and will literally be used against you. When you speak, even if you're innocent, you give up the biggest advantage you have. ANY inconsistencies will be used against you. Words can be given uncharitably during trial. They police WILL ASK YOU QUESTIONS that a prosecutor WILL NOT BE ALLOWED to ask in a trial (speculation, leading, etc), but if you answer the police it can be used in a trial and will in all likelihood be recorded. Ever listen to yourself later and cringe? Yeah.
Even if you present a consistent story from police interview to trial, you can't even use that consistency to your benefit, but the prosecutor can use the inconsistencies against you. Your silence can't be mentioned during a trial. It cannot be used against you.
Look, if it's a speeding ticket by all means talk to the police. If saw a criminal running away, tell the police what direction they headed.
If you've been detained or are in any way at risk of it, call a laywer.
I didn't say don't.
And in the UK, what you don't say can be used against you.
> it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court
Is it accurate to say that it actually can't be used in your favor, or that it simply won't be?
I am not a solicitor of course.
Lol that isn't what I said, is it?
These days it doesn't seem to apply to non-union workers, unfortunately -- which is like reason #93 to want a union.
HR's normal functions like hiring, compensation, benefits, transfers, etc are fine to talk about.
And you may also do great things, and help do awesome corporate projects.
But first and foremost, your employment is a bet by the company that your usefulness will outweigh your potential minefields.
HR would be a legal liability if I came to them with problems, they didn't help me and it would later lead to something like depression or burnout causing me to be unable to work because of it. That's a much bigger risk than whatever legal liability you have in mind.
Of course I am a cost center and my employment is that bet by the company, but that's beside the point. Good working conditions increase the chance of that bet being in the money.
I thought I knew what this phrase meant, but its truth never hit home until I stood before a judge. Perhaps it would be better phrased as "everything you say can and will be used against you" It's shocking and frightening how a comment that you'd think is a positive for yourself will be cynically twisted to make you look terrible. The comment above about the prosecutor is telling: the man who prosecuted me used self-created fabrications to make up for his lack of a case against me. The judge told him that the documents that he had on his desk directly refuted what the prosecutor claimed, and the prosecutor continued with his case as though getting caught lying was just a matter of course. And it was. Lying is only a problem for the defendant. If the prosecutor doesn't ruin your life with imprisonment, the legal system will ruin it with the money that it takes to defend yourself.
A police officer can testify to statements you made or actions you took that will incriminate you. But if the defense counsel asks them to testify to similar statements or actions that will exonerate you, the prosecution will object to it as hearsay, and it will be sustained. You'll need to take the stand to make such claims, which opens you up to cross-examination.
This sounds like an incredibly broad statement that, by its breadth alone, seems false. Do you have any/many examples of this happening? I would think this is an extremely common occurrence by your statement.
Beware this advice can vary from country to country. In England and Wales for example if you don't say something to the police that you later rely on for your defense that can be used against you e.g. they ask 'why was your boot full of weapons and where were you heading?' you stay silent then later state in court 'it was my brother's car, he asked me to drive it to a friend's house and pick him up, I didn't think to check in the boot' they could perhaps infer you'd taken some time to concoct a false story which is why you didn't answer the question initially however the rules are complex: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_silence_in_England_an.... You do have the right for a duty solicitor to attend an interview who can advise you on prudent things to say and where you should stay silent.
EDIT: Initially said this applied to the whole UK, actually only England and Wales (from the linked Wikipedia page) uncertain about Scotland & Northern Ireland.
Do definitely have a lawyer present, but whether or not to talk to the police varies a lot per country. Personally, I think that not talking to the police being such vital advice in the US, is a strong condemnation of how the American system works. People should be able to trust the police, and the police and prosecutors should be working to do justice, not merely to lock up as many people as possible. Every innocent person behind bars is a failure of the system.
Don't get me wrong. It's a great thing when a country overcomes it and manages to create a fair, even-handed justice system.
But human nature is to want to see something done about it when crimes happen. That's why before formal justice systems existed (and still today in certain undeveloped areas), a mob would form and just take out -- as in kill -- the suspect on the spot. Without really being sure that they were guilty.
The idea of deferring punishment, recognizing and protecting the rights of the accused, and conducting a fair, orderly trial is a wonderful thing, but it's not the default. It's really more like an achievement in human evolution.
Prosecutors play fast and loose to win the game, justice be damned.
But rewarding police and prosecutors for the number of convictions is like rewarding programmers for the number of lines of code. It rewards bad code and unjust convictions.
Maybe there should be a justice-equivalent of code review for police and prosecutors.
It isn't clear what sort of reforms are needed, but grand juries are the only democratic institution in our republic.
If it was possible to "sticky" a comment here, this would be the stickiestable comment.
One of the key takeaways was that the Police will start building a case against you from the very first moment they start interviewing you. So the advice to not talk to the police is very relevant if you believe there is a chance to be incriminated.
The book also gives an introduction to the Inquisitorial law system - used in most of the EU - where the judge plays an active role in the investigation and finding the 'truth'; in contrast to the Adversarial system of law - used in the UK and US - where each side competes with facts and the judge is a referee; and how all of this affects the judicial process.
So the advice holds. Don't say anything unless your solicitor tells you to do so.
I've always wondered, what are good ways to actually find the "best" lawyers?
For the typical person who doesn't keep track of legal cases, wouldn't it be pretty difficult to make a judgement on whether a lawyer or legal firm is super amazing or totally mediocre?
On capriciousness: if people were good enough to create a good justice system, there would be no need for a justice system. The justice system takes as axiom the myth that there are good people and bad people
For example, it could be interpreted as stalking judge to intimidate them into ruling for you (dumb, but morons have tried this) and the court system responds with overwhelming force to anything smelling of possibly threatening a judge.
This is just a random person on the internet's speculation. It'd be useful to know if your comment is similarly just armchair speculation or if you either have expertise or can cite an example of this working out well.
Anyone can walk into any courtroom at any time (in most cases), so it wouldn't be misinterpreted as stalking. In fact, there are people out there that go spend the day in the courtrooms for fun - just watching the cases unfold.
The gist is that you want a lawyer that is both known and liked by the state and the judge. They have a much better chance of negotiating on your behalf. You definitely don't want one that they don't like, and that is usually immediately apparent in the courtroom interactions.
Spot check your choice by pulling public records for cases in which they served as attorney for the defense, just to make sure they didn't make any obvious mistakes. Bonus points if they got an acquittal from having obviously incriminating evidence suppressed. If they can get a criminal who did the deed off, they should be able to defend a wrongly-accused innocent, right?
Let friends and family know who you want them to call (and pay) if you get pinched.
It seems like low-value research, though, unless you consider yourself at higher risk for being arrested.
Have the money, the rest is very easy.
Snark aside, anyone can charge an arm and a leg. The question is, how do you find someone who isn't just charging a high hourly rate, but is charging it because he or she is very good.
These are very very important decisions for most people who are not in the know. Anything beyond traffic violations and petty charges, most people dont know how to go about finding capable legal talent & associated services.
Sites like AVVO notwithstanding, theres no reliable, thorough-going & robust way to shop for a lawyer / law firm.
I've seen so many terrible lawyers cost clients thousands upon thousands of dollars, because the lawyer doesn't really know how to fight the case, or lacks the skill.
And none of us think about this problem until we need it, and by then the situation is too urgent to research slowly and methodically.
Hopefully someone will solve. Seems like maybe business idea material.
Although, I wonder if Yelp offers sufficient screening...
Then they'd talk to me. Many cases started with a great suspect who had motive, opportunity, corroborating evidence, but there was still reasonable doubt. Then the suspect would tell me all sorts of stuff that I didn't know, which really helped out.
Further, the cops don't assume your arrest, or statements, are invalid due to a lack of Miranda warning. Statements made by the suspect who hasnt been advised of their rights are only inadmissible if the suspect is in some sort of custody, and under some form of interrogation.
If you are sitting on your couch in your home talking to a single cop who hasn't arrested you or anything, you aren't in custody, so the cop can ask you questions all day, and its fair game.
If you get arrested and the cop asks "Are you feeling okay", and you go on and on about the crime you committed, you are making spontaneous statements that aren't the subject of an interrogation, so these are likely admissible as well.
There are gray areas. If you are in the back of the cop car, and 2 cops up front are having a conversation about the case, hoping to guilt you into giving up information, those statements may be inadmissible unless you were advised of the miranda warning.
There was a homicide case where the cops had a suspect, but couldn't prove it. It was the victim's boyfriend. Detectives spoke to him, and asked if they could take him to breakfast on Saturday. The guy cautiously obliged, because free breakfast. He drove his own car, met them there, and they had a nice breakfast. Talked about sports, TV, life, etc. No mention of the case. The cops asked if they wanted to meet them for breakfast again next week. He did. They did this for over a month.
One morning, between bites of pancakes, the Detective asks, "So why'd you kill Jane". The suspect, not missing a beat, replies, "Man, she just pissed me off".
In hindsight, if you didn't commit a crime, follow the advice of the parent post. If you did commit the crime, always talk to the cops; you're smarter than them, you can convince them you're innocent.
This is why convicting guilty people isn't always right, and jury nullification is important. The law comes down hard on some people and not others, quite unjustly. The legal/penal system has a terrible reputation of its own making.
Jane's killer was in a strange circumstance. So was Jane, what with being murdered and all. The unconventional means of getting a confession were not immoral or unethical at all, IMO, and the courts certainly agreed they were admissible.
Exactly, thinking your innocent is going to have you saying WAAAAY MORE THAN YOU SHOULD
stuff you are desperate to say thinking everyone's going to "be cool and understanding"
What really happens is that you say a tiny thing with a little inconsistency and it undermines your whole defense. Officers will misremember, prosecutors will misconstrue.
Your reputation doesn't come back. Half of the population has already made up their mind. Forget about it. You need the case to be weak, and if it continues to court you need the jury to stick with the instructions and not be able to convict.
Wow. That woke me up this morning. I never thought of that, but now it's apparent that this is spot on. And this is the game played by professional criminals (white-collar con-men types).
It's a ~47 video, and even if you don't agree with the conclusion, I think it's excellent. I haven't adopted a "never talk to the police" vibe, but I seriously think twice about talking to cops for anything that matters. For example, if shady person running down street with purse, person yelling "that person grabbed my purse", and cop asks "did you see which way the purse snatcher ran", I'll probably speak up :) . Cop asks me where I was last Saturday night, I'm not inclined to start volunteering information.
I was a police officer for a good portion of my life. The problem is you may not know what matters. I have a couple teenagers and I don't even let them talk to school administrators without me present if there was some type of trouble at school. I certainly would never let my children talk to the police and I myself, would never talk to the police. You may think what you are saying sounds innocent but you never know how the officer is viewing your statement or what king of evidence they are looking for.
For example, a few years ago my neighbor's house burned down in the middle of the night. He and his family had decided to spend the night elsewhere that night before the fire started. Apparently, he had some hotel points from work travel and they stayed the night at a fancy hotel -- locally. Investigators were suspicious of this so they brought him in for questioning. From his account, he said they were very friendly to him and sorry that his house had burned down. They jokingly asked if he had ever missed any payments on his house. He said actually he missed this months because of a illness in his family that required extra money. But that he had worked it out with the bank. Well the investigator ran with that statement and the fact that his whole family wasn't home and opened an arson investigation with him as the suspect. It took nearly a year to clear him and the insurance wouldn't pay until the investigation was done. He continued to pay for the house and had to live with relatives. The whole thing was crazy. If he wouldn't have talked to the police, they would have relied solely on the fire investigation report which didn't indicate arson.
I know policing is just a job, but given that the impact of your actions can and often screw the lives of innocent people, with no opportunity for recourse on top of that, why do (many?) police officers not feel any responsibility to do the right thing?
You don't hear of doctors and nurses being so callous in their jobs, or at least the rate of incidence seems to be orders of magnitude lower compared to law enforcement.
In your opinion, what can be done to improve the system? Would making it easier to file and win lawsuits against the police/prosecution for incompetence/malpractice help? (similar to doctors)
Neighbor knows he didn’t do it, but cops don’t. Their job is to collect information and be suspicious (at least to some degree). Detectives are probably rewarded in some way, their job is to deliver a case to a prosecutor.
DA/Prosecutors are rewarded by conviction rates, particularly those who are elected. Has nothing to do with justice or the truth. And ultimately most of them probably feel any injustice isn’t because of the way they did their job, but the Jury making the wrong choice.
- detain someone for something e.g. traffic stop for speeding
- find probable cause e.g. alcohol on breath
- find other bad stuff e.g. a gun or meth
- arrest and mutter under breath "got the bad guy, he deserved it, saved innocent lives" or w/e else
- go back to first step with an additional data point that speeders may also handle drugs and be driving drunk
two, incentives are what they are. police generally aren't rewarded for doing high quality year long investigations that uncover every particular fact in a meticulous and honorable way - there isn't $$ or staff. incentives suggest that closing them gets you farther than "doing a good job, for certain values of good widely held by the public". for the district attorney, they largely have the same incentives (throughput) and so prefer open and shut type setups or plea deals so as to get things moving quickly. so they aren't helping the situation either.
Reading it, it comes to mind that one difference between the medical profession and others is the Hippocratic Oath, starting with the promise to “first, do no harm”.
I don't know of any similar ethos in policing (and there's plenty of popular-culture/film glorification of extralegal means to get the bad guys).
Perhaps policing could benefit from such an approach?
I certainly would say that police have a solid ethos, which is indeed voiced in mottos like the ones you mention.
The distinction I'm making is that the "do no harm" goal at the top of the medical ethos is different, and wondering if that could help in the policing world.
His advice generally stands, but with caveats:
— To prevent invoking the 5th from seeming as admission of guilt to jurors and to the public, it may be safer to invoke the right to counsel instead and refuse to talk without your lawyer present.
— In case of traffic stops invoking the 5th may be overkill and polite talk may be productive, unless body or car search (or canine sniffing) is involved.
Being polite is 100% the way to go, even if the officer is being a jerk. Many of them want to get a reaction out of you. Best thing to do is to roll down your window all the way, turn the lights on in the car, keep your hands on the steering wheel, and always use sir or ma'am when responding to them. Ask for permission to do anything. I've had good luck being polite and pleading either ignorance or stupidness, depending on what the violation is. Generally, never argue, and just challenge the violation in court. If its bad, get a lawyer specializing in traffic violations. If its minor, calling the officer and trying to set up a face-to-face meeting to ask if there is anything he can do to minimize the points to avoid any insurance increases has worked for me many times. If you never get a hold of the officer, getting to your hearing early to speak with the him/her (politely) has worked for me as well. The rule of thumb is always be polite.
If you are getting arrested, be polite and keep your mouth shut and get a lawyer when you can.
Note, I don't have much sympathy for anyone who truly drives like a a-hole for no reason. But some of us have cars that are fun to drive, when the time is right of course.
IANAL, obviously, just my experience.
2. Be white, if possible.
2a. If it is impossible or impractical for you to be white, instead use your "Sorry For Bothering You" "white voice".
3. Roll d100 and consult Table 22: Cop Bastardliness Levels, to determine difficulty classes for your Persuade and Bluff checks.
It's always best to just avoid all police encounters in the US. If you routinely drive in excess of posted limits, use radar detectors and crowdsourced speed trap warning apps. Tint your windows to the legal limit, and no darker. Ensure your signal lamps are all functional, and signal all turns and lane changes. Come to a full stop behind the line at all stop signs and red traffic lights. If you see a uniformed cop in public, do not approach. Be somewhere else, as quickly as you can manage, but without appearing too suspicious.
In any situation in which you might think it would be okay to deal with police directly, you're probably wrong, unless someone is literally in mortal peril already. Instead contact your lawyer, or security contractor, or insurance adjuster, or psychiatrist. In most cases, the police have no legal obligation to help you, and legally unchecked power to harm you, so why risk it?
Not much mystery here. The alternative is track days at the local racing circuit, assuming such a thing exists near OP.
"It's not okay, unless you're having fun" is a pretty low bar
> And when a suspect in an interrogation told detectives to "just give me a lawyer dog," the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the suspect was, in fact, asking for a "lawyer dog," and not invoking his constitutional right to counsel.
It's from last year, and the description suggests it's not like you are saying. (I haven't watched it; it's an hour and a half long.)
The same advice pertains.
Get the best lawyer you can not afford
Really it boils down to experience, and how likely that person is to have a relationship with the prosecutors, judges, and clerks where you have a problem.
Contact your local bar association, they almost always have referral services.
Also in many jurisdictions you can find local advocacy groups that can provide referrals.
Perhaps the sample is biased towards people who dealt with a bad lawyer, though.
That said, the American legal system is totally fucked up and of course it should not take that kind of money to stay out of jail if you're innocent. The burden on society in the longer term is terrible, the burden on these individuals unforgivable. The fact that there are no penalties for prosecutors that wrongly convict, no proper compensation for time served and that prosecutors tend to do dick measuring contests based on their conviction rates doesn't help either.
The public defender is overworked and understaffed. Having someone dedicated to you in the criminal justice system is a huge advantage--especially if you are guilty.
(As for being guilty, there are a lot of things that can land you with a felony that are far short of murder or armed robbery. Having a lawyer of your own can sometimes mean the difference between a felony that will haunt you forever versus a misdemeanor that can be expunged/erased/etc.)
It's a real shame that the fate of an innocent person's life is determined by a system that's pay to win.
To think that you can lose a massive chunk or maybe even your entire adult life for being falsely accused because your public defender is in a bad mood or doesn't have enough time to look into your case is total insanity.
And I feel like that was more to send a message out to the general public that it doesn't matter how much money you have, if you try to evade taxes you will get thrown in jail. It wasn't so much a personal case where a good lawyer could get you out of having your only life ruined.
Then again, I don't watch the news or follow politics at all. In any case, it's messed up that money drives something as important as your freedom to live your life.
Yes, being poor makes you automatically guilty.
At least with the public defender's office you get someone who gives a shit, even if they are overworked.
Taking everything said at face value, you pay 120k for 6 years in the job market. That's 20k a year, without interest.
edit: please don't read this as an "oh, only 20k a year" comment. My intention was just to make the number approachable by connecting it to the given return.
In the same way one would explain unreasonably high college expenses.
And going to trial with an expensive lawyer is not guarantee of success. You may have an actual criminal record and years in jail before you can begin to pay that back.
If it isn't, damn. I hope I never have the misfortune of somebody falsely accusing me in such a manner that the accusation alone wipes $120k from my pockets.
Don't sit silent. Tell them, "I don't understand my legal rights in this situation so I wish to retain counsel before we talk further." Just repeat that as necessary.
Requisite video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE
Always exercise your Miranda Rights.
> PS. If you're guilty, I got nothing for you, no idea how to help you.
Hate to sound like a dirtbag, but your advice also applies here.
If you actually manage to clobber your spouse in the proceedings, you can always write them a check later to fix your conscience. If they clobber you, there will be no mercy.
Not sure how to read that. Is this consistent?
I'm not trying to bait or anything. Judicial institutions aren't about some objective truth somewhere out in the universe. Best case scenario is that their processes provide stability. (The nice, good governance kind of stability, therefore creating legitimacy, being predictable etc.)
I can therefore fully understand the first part. No idea why they chose to return to the question of guilt again later in their comment.
It wouldn't change a thing in the usefulness of their advice.
An innocent person on the other hand, knowing they are innocent, will just talk. They will speak only looking at what they say in the best light. They will not realize that everything they say is going to be construed by the police to fit their theory of the crime. This is why it is important for an innocent person to think like a guilty person during their interactions with the police.
Imagine you are innocent and you naively believe they can't convict you because you know you are innocent. There is no device to test for innocence so in the end it is not that hard or impossible to end up in jail even when you are innocent.
The second part is to ensure that he doesn't waste his time on people that are really guilty because in the end that will go nowhere. Just like the innocence project has pre-screening to ensure they are not wasting their time.
Again, I think this is inconsistent. The original comment author is bound to be one of those third parties where objective innocence does not matter.
But if it "will go nowhere" as soon as objective innocence isn't a given, it does apparently matter.
Now does it, or doesn't it matter?
Nothing can have both an effect and not an effect at the same time. It's a logical error and reformulating this same error is not a fix.
Edit: especially in a jury-based system it seems like it doesn't matter whether you're guilty or not, but whether the jury believes your story. In addition, many (most?) people who commit crimes do not necessarily think of themselves as criminals, though admittedly I got forgot from which source I got this.
Edit2: bottom line: why would influencing a jury suddenly stop working when you're guilty.
The US is not a jury-based system, but a plea-bargain-based system. Over over 94% of cases never go in front of a jury.  And while theoretically you can insist on your case going to trial, a few things will happen to you:
1. Your public defender will do everything possible to discourage you, because they don't have the resources to take you to trial.
2. As a consequence of not having resources, they will in fact be correct in discouraging you.
3. The prosecutor will charge you with far more counts, and a potential sentence that is much higher than what you'll get in a plea deal.
Note that the extra counts don't need to be provable. What they do is two things:
1. Add to your defense burden.
2. Put intense psychological pressure ("If I take this felony deal I get five years, but I might get TWENTY FIVE if I take this to trial and lose.")
If you can afford a good lawyer, the plea deal calculus works better, of course, since you now have a credible threat of taking a bad case to court and demolishing the prosecutor.
You know, they’re doing you a ‘favour’ by avoiding the trial so long as you accept guilt.
In the real world, of course, they are used to throw the book at people with no ability to defend themselves.
The only circumstance that holds true is if you get a legit confession. But that confession still has to be fact-checked.
As for the rest, you cannot in any circumstance be obviously guilty unless you were an accomplice to that fact or you were captured after the fact. You would have to read minds to throw away the presumption of innocence, and even in those seemingly obvious circumstances there may be something else going on. So we have the trials.
Plea deals are exactly that - deals between you and the state to go to jail so you might not go to jail longer. They're not doing you a favour, because they have all the authority.
One would hope it would be easier to be found innocent when you are innocent - easier to produce evidence and proof of things that are true, and to produce convincingly honest testimony when you were being honest.