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Discussion Starter #1
One thing I always seem to notice whenever anyone is exonerated of a crime that they unjustly served time in prison for is that "jailhouse snitches" helped put them there. Seems anytime anyone is arrested for a crime and put in jail to await trial, jailhouse witnesses come out of the woodwork to swear that the suspect talked about or confessed to the crime to them, and these so-called witnesses always get lighter sentences for their own crimes in exchange for their testimony. If I were ever arrested for a crime I would be VERY concerned about jailhouse witnesses, and if I were ever on a jury I would be VERY dubious about their testimony. Thoughts?
 

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Re: "Jail house witnesses".

The actual case is that:
A. Jails are BORING, and people just want to talk to relieve the boredom.
B. Criminals are often not the brightest people, and they like to brag and impress the other creeps.

If your inference is that the police and prosecutors routinely fake "confessions" in jails in return for lighter sentences, you're wrong.
HAS it happened, sure, but in order to get creep Number Two to tell what creep Number One told him, you usually have to offer something.
Creep Number Two usually isn't known to be a public spirited individual.
The term "Rolling over on someone" pretty well describes what actually happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm not implying that it routinely happens, and I'm not implying that cops or prosecutors recruit these people every time it does happen. I'm sure lots of them come forward unbidden with tales that they think will help them purchase leinency for themselves. But it does happen, and I can point out actual cases where people who were later proven wholly innocent were convicted at least in part by concocted testimony put forth by jailhouse witnesses. The Debra Sue Carter murder case right here in Ada is just one example I could cite.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I do think that some prosecutors are at fault when they too often gleefully accept these people's stories and put them on the stand as credible witnesses instead of being dubious of them and their motives and thoroughly vetting their information.
 

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bestseller92v2.0 said:
I do think that some prosecutors are at fault when they too often gleefully accept these people's stories and put them on the stand as credible witnesses instead of being dubious of them and their motives and thoroughly vetting their information.
Most thongs in life are not that simple. I doubt that prosecutors make cases solely because of a jailhouse snitch or the defendant would not have been in jail in the first place.

I remain amazed, however, at how many testimonies seem to get recanted as an execution date nears.

To answer one of your specific questions, as a juror I would probably give little weight to the testimony of a jailhouse snitch.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
They weren't in there because of the jailhouse snitches, no (and just to note, I don't care for the term 'snitch' in most cases, because its negative conotation causes a lot of people not to give legitimate information or testimony these days), but the cases against them were buttressed by this dubious testimony.
 

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bestseller92v2.0 said:
(and just to note, I don't care for the term 'snitch' in most cases, because its negative conotation causes a lot of people not to give legitimate information or testimony these days)
It's not a term I would use in most other contexts but this one.

Years ago, when Clive Shepherd was still running courses for the NRA Law Enforceable Activities Division, he made a comment that in Britain it is a criminal offense to fail to report criminal activity that comes to one's attention. He traced this back to the old concept of the hue and cry, which required the King's subjects to cease their work and join the pursuit of a malefactor. Clive wondered how this concept - of not being held accountable for failing to report criminal activity - had been lost on the American side of the Anglo-American legal tradition.

With that preface, let me say that it may be one thing for a person to come to the authorities to report wrongdoing as a function of good citizenship and another one to do so in order to seek exemption from prosecution or a lesser sentence for his own wrongdoing. While the latter is certainly valuable to the investigators of crime, it is certainly a bit suspect as evidence in a court of law.
 

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IIRC, this is part of why Mas advises that if you end up hauled in after a defensive shoot, you keep to yourself and just tell everybody "thanks for your concern, but it was an extremely traumatic experience and I'd rather not talk about it" or words to that effect, though I'm probably butchering the paraphrase/quote.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here in Pontotoc County it often doesn't matter whether you talk to anyone or not...history says someone WILL come forward to say that you did. Read John Grisham's "The Innocent Man" to see an example of what I mean.
 
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IMNSHO Mike Nifong is the tip of a very large iceberg of prosecutorial misconduct. Prosecutors do not care about justice, they care about winning. They cannot be held accountable for misconduct because they are shielded by absolute immunity. Even when caught the penalty imposed is absurdly light. Mike Nifong served one day in jail for criminal contempt of court. That was not punishment to fit his crimes. A month in jail for every day he dragged that case out after the DNA results exonerated the accused would approach justice.
 

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Michael Byron Nifong (born September 14, 1950) is a disbarred former North Carolina attorney.[2] He was the district attorney for Durham County, North Carolina (the state's 14th Prosecutorial District) but was removed and disbarred due to his misconduct in the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case.[3] Observers consider several criminal justice bills passed by the North Carolina legislature later that same year to have been influenced by Nifong's actions in the Duke lacrosse case.[4]

Source
 

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My memory of Pennsylvania Criminal Law is dated, but I do have both the old and new (1980's) code books at home. The old code was based on the old (English) Common Law, and IIRC, under that code, failure to report a felony was considered a crime, but I'd guess it was prosecuted about once every blue moon.

I simply don't know, but I expect if it was lost, it was when all the states revised their criminal codes to reflect the "model codes" that were 'suggested" by the Feds. I'd strongly suspicion that the Feds tied adoption of the model codes to grant money.
 

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I know a young man who served three years and was penalized for years in having his rights stripped based on three other felons testimony that he was the robber in a liquor shop stick up.


He was tried and convicted when all three others named him as the guy.

Problem was at the time of the robbery he was still punched in at his regular job. The Da and public defender never bothered to call his boss and ask despite his statements. It later turned out that they picked him after the robbery and only chose to blame him when a description of the vehicle led police to stop the car.


It wasn't until he was out of prison and back home that he discovered, unopened, his paycheck with a copy of his time card in it.

Eversince I have gotten to know him I have decided that if called to be a juror I will look with very heavy suspicion upon any testimony given by accomplices.

In his case I believe both the prosecutor and the Public defender should be disbarred
 

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guntotin_fool said:
I know a young man who served three years and was penalized for years in having his rights stripped based on three other felons testimony that he was the robber in a liquor shop stick up.
...
In his case I believe both the prosecutor and the Public defender should be disbarred
Shyster Gods are above the law. They take sides for money and money is all they care about, then they become Judges, and make decisions that make lawyers MORE AND MORE MONEY!!

I seriously think we should have the state EQUALLY pay both sides in ANY dispute that goes to court, and that all lawyers should be limited to $25 per hour.

If the parties settle out of court after the process begins, they shall BOTH pay all the costs, plus a penalty of 500%

Geoff
Who believes this will seriously cut back on the current court clogs.
 

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Skeptic49 said:
I seriously think we should have the state EQUALLY pay both sides in ANY dispute that goes to court, and that all lawyers should be limited to $25 per hour.
So, if you're ever charged with a serious crime, you want to be defended by someone who will work for $25 an hour? How about a $25-an-hour surgeon if you need heart surgery or brain surgery?
 

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spwenger said:
Skeptic49 said:
I seriously think we should have the state EQUALLY pay both sides in ANY dispute that goes to court, and that all lawyers should be limited to $25 per hour.
So, if you're ever charged with a serious crime, you want to be defended by someone who will work for $25 an hour? How about a $25-an-hour surgeon if you need heart surgery or brain surgery?
I don't want to go to Jail because the State has an infinite amount of money and resources and I'll be bankrupted as well. A good felony defense costs $50,000 AND UP! As I recall one article years back the innocent victim of Federal persecution lost his house and all his liquid assets, after a lifetime all he had was social security and I'll bet his lawyer wanted that as well!

I don't wanna get threatened with a lawsuit by a mega-corp for my land and have to surrender it for nothing in fear of complete destitution.

I don't wanna go to court against the local government who wants to give me 1/100th the value of my land by "eminent domain" because they can sell it to a private corporation and get more taxes off them than me, take it all the way the the Supreme Shyster rip off artists who declare the US of A a Nazi slave state and take the land away!

Equality under the law should be absolute, including grading the lawyers (A to F, plus their win/loss ratio) to insure equal representation on both sides.

Geoff
Who is not a fan of law by $!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Lawyers make the laws.

I think Shakespeare had it right....
 

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bestseller92v2.0 said:
Lawyers make the laws.

I think Shakespeare had it right....
And it's worth noting that back when Shakespeare had Dick the Butcher say, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," the term referred to the law-makers.

I'm no fan of the abuses that occur in our legal system but I always keep in mind the definitions of a conservative as a liberal who's just been mugged and of a liberal as a conservative who's just been arrested. Your perspective may vary greatly depending on whether you're facing the judge from the right side or the left side of the courtroom. If a loved one is murdered, you'll probably want to see a skilled prosecutor handle the case.

There's certainly room to argue whether we would be better off in a system where lay people argue for both prosecution and defense - which is likely what you'll get if you limit the advocates to $25 an hour - but consider this: Many of us argue that we are a nation of laws. Being such presumably protects defendants from the passions of the time. If we remain a nation of laws, it takes a few years of study to learn the laws and, most likely, a few years of practice to learn how to advocate effectively. Will you be able to get competent people to do that for $25 an hour?
 
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