No one tracks how often the wrongly convicted are pressured to accept plea deals in lieu of exonerations. In Baltimore City and County alone—two separate jurisdictions with their own prosecutors—ProPublica identified at least 10 cases in the last 19 years in which defendants with viable innocence claims ended up signing “Alford” pleas or time-served deals.
Federal prosecutors had sought 1.3 million IP addresses for people who visited a website aimed at protesting President Trump’s inauguration. The government now says it is seeking only evidence of a “premeditated riot” on Inauguration Day.
When a man was killed in 2007 after he resisted threats and bribes and testified against a man who had shot him, District Attorney John Chisholm created a team of investigators to target people who threaten witnesses. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tells how the effort has worked, in a six-part series.
Newspaper says the mass expungement is an indictment of the city’s summons system. The Times urges the city’s prosecutors to wipe out the records of others “who may have been unjustifiably caught in the zero-tolerance dragnet.”
New York is one of 10 states where prosecutors can wait until just before trial to share evidence with defendants and their attorneys. Suspects may be pushed to enter plea deals without knowing the extent of the evidence against them. The state bar association, the Legal Aid Society and the Innocence Project are seeking a law requiring earlier disclosure.
The state prison population has declined under the six-year-old plan to keep many convicts in local jails, the National Forum on Criminal Justice was told yesterday. But violent crime has also gone up recently.
To avoid court, motorists can write a check directly to the local prosecutor under an unusual system known as “DA Pre-Trial Diversion.” The use of diversion seems to be growing, raising eyebrows among public defenders who rely on traffic fines for funding.
District attorneys in four boroughs have agreed to file motions to toss out old warrants issued for low-level offenses like drinking in public and riding a bicycle on a sidewalk. All are more than 10 years old. The mass clearance will dismiss a significant portion of the city’s roughly 1.5 million outstanding warrants.