DEALING WITH THE COURT
by John J. Broderick, Esq., Attorney at Law
The purpose of this article is to point out certain factors in plea
bargaining which rescuers are not using; they are probably unaware of them.
The first thing that must be understood is that 97% of the criminal cases
in the United States are disposed of by one kind of agreement or another.
Very few cases go to trial and for a very good reason. If a defendant is
offered a plea bargain and he refuses it, the sentence is usually three
times as severe if he later loses his trial. Unfortunately, many times
rescuers go through trials even though they have no particular wish to do
so and avoidance of the trial does not violate their principles.
Many judges hold it against criminal defendants if they insist on a trial.
The judges feel that they have had to invest a great deal of their time
when it was unnecessary. They also think that the defendants are trying to
escape the consequences of their criminal acts, and, perhaps most important
of all, going to trial makes it difficult for the judges to get rid of a
lot of cases in a short period of time and thereby look good with their
peers. A plea takes only ten minutes; a trial can take days.
We all know that most of the time rescuers go to trial because they cannot
plead guilty. What they don't understand is that there are other
alternatives to trial besides pleading guilty. There are nollo contendere
pleas, stipulated facts trials and other procedures that can be used. I
strongly recommend that if they are available, these other avenues of
approach be utilized. The chance of winning a rescue trial is approximately
1 in 300. If a bargain can be negotiated, the rescuers can receive much
more lenient sentences, which will enable them to be back at the clinic in
a much shorter period of time.
If a nolo contendere plea or stipulated facts trial is not available, a
rescuer should consider putting in no defense to the prosecution case. The
rescuer should advise the judge before the trial starts that he or she has
no wish to go to trial but is being forced into it for spiritual reasons;
he or she cannot plead guilty. Then, to shorten up the trial, the rescuer
might consider waiving cross-examination, opening statements and
summations. This will reduce trial time down to an absolute minimum-perhaps
a matter of a couple of hours. If a judge is apprised of this beforehand,
he or she will know that the rescuer is not trying to avoid the
consequences of his or her act or to sneak around behind the court's back.
The judge will also be grateful that the trial took so little time, and all
of this should be reflected in the sentence. This can also be a fine
witness: remaining silent even as Christ was silent before Pilate and the
babies are silent while they are killed. Finally, this course of action
probably will have the very practical result of a much more lenient
sentence in addition to its spiritual validity.
A word about stipulated facts trials: they are basically very simple. The
rescuer stipulates as to what the police testimony would be and the
prosecutor in return stipulates that if the rescuer were to testify, the
rescuer would re-affirm his or her not-guilty plea, maintain his or her
innocence, and state that his or her actions were done to save the
children. The trial takes only about two minutes. The rescuer does not
agree to being found guilty, but there is only a chance in a billion that
that won't happen. However, the rescuer is entering into this stipulated
facts procedure for a reason: the situation is negotiated. In other words,
it is talked out beforehand with the judge and the prosecutor and an
understanding is reached to the effect that if the rescuer is found guilty,
the sentence will be a very lenient one. Without that commitment or
understanding, only a fool would enter into the stipulation. He or she will
be simply making it easier to be convicted. However, many judges and
prosecutors are interested in these stipulated facts procedures because it
makes life a great deal easier for them. The situation is also eased for
the rescuer, who can then pursue his or her more important goal: returning
to the clinic to save more of the little ones.
If any rescuer wishes to discuss the above, call (516) 921-8310 or write to
32 Pine Road, Syosset, NY 11791.
ALL About Issues, PO Box 1350, Stafford, VA 22555
$12.95 per year (6 issues)