Monday, January 25, 2016

Wash Post’s In Theory: Americans are Bargaining Away their Innocence By Tim Lynch of The Cato Institute

In Theory- Opinion
Americans are bargaining away their innocence, January 20, 2016
By Tim Lynch

Each week, In Theory takes on a big idea in the news and explores it from a range of perspectives. This week we’re talking about the right to a fair trial. Need a primer? Catch up here.

The presumption of innocence helps to combat prejudice and prejudging in the U.S. criminal justice system. But because plea bargains have supplanted trials in our criminal justice system, that presumption does not apply to most cases in the United States. 

Prejudice against the accused is quite common. Consider your own experience: If you see that a police car has pulled a driver over to the side of a highway, what do you make of the situation? Most people probably think to themselves, “Hmm, that driver was probably caught speeding.” Similarly, if you heard that one of your neighbors had been arrested, you would likely say to yourself, “I wonder what crime he committed.” It is a common reaction to presume that the authorities had a good reason to detain or arrest someone. 

                [Other perspectives: The presumption of innocence exists in theory, not reality] 

To protect the innocent, however, the law demands that incriminating evidence be presented in court. The Constitution says every person accused of a crime has the right to an impartial jury trial. If the jury is persuaded that a person is guilty, then that person can lose his liberty and be punished. That is a sensible procedure for a just system, and it is why Americans have taken pride in our Bill of Rights. 

Unfortunately, the system that is described by our school teachers and that Americans see on television and in the movies is now defunct. Jury trials are now rare events in the United States. In fact, about 95 percent of the cases moving through the system will not go to trial. The overwhelming majority of cases will be resolved by plea bargains.

Restoring Integrity to the Virginia Sex Offender Registry Blog Reaches 140,000 Page Views

Back on August 5th 2015 I posted that this blog had reached 100,000 page views a feat that took 766 days to achieve for an average of 130 views per day. 

Well I’m thrilled to point out to readers today that we’ve reached 140,000 page views, that’s an additional 40,000 hits in just 173 days which works out to be an average of 231 views per day that’s a 77.69% increase in daily views in the last 5.75 months.

I truly appreciate everyone’s interest and involvement in this platform. 

Thank you all for following my advocacy, for taking action against hateful legislation and for staying current on the latest research and reading materials. 

Way too often I wonder…..Why am I still doing this…..does anyone care……is anyone taking action when I ask them to…….and the counter for the page views is my gauge that ya’ll do care. 

For those of you who have stepped out of the shadows in the last year making your voice heard to Virginia and Federal Legislators I am extremely grateful for your courage, strength and involvement. Without your emails and phone calls to lawmakers I most likely would have given up on this venture a few years back. But because I hear directly from Legislators (usually in private) that they are listening not only to me, but to you….. even if they don’t say so in public, that gives me motivation to keep plowing forward, because one day they may finally find their courage to speak out too. 

Now onto 200,000 page views! 

Mary Davye Devoy