When ‘Not Guilty’ Pleas Mislead the Public

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Robin Barton

Like many people, I get breaking news email alerts from various media agencies, including CNN and the New York Times. Usually they're sent out for appropriate events, such as when someone important dies or when a natural disaster or other public emergency occurs.

But on several occasions I've gotten such alerts when a recently arrested defendant has just pleaded not guilty in an initial court appearance.

For example, on July 10, 2013, I got a breaking news alert from CNN saying, "Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleads not guilty to 30 federal counts related to the April . . .

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