w00t! Vacated!!

So this morning I get back on the phone to the county attorney’s office. First the woman I reach can’t find the cases…turns out she hit a wrong numeral in her search. Then we discover the perps have got NEW case numbers. She succeeds in tracking down all four case numbers…and, it develops, they’ve been vacated!

“Soooo,” say I, ever suspicious, “what does that mean?”

“Well,” says she, “probably they took a plea deal.”

“So I don’t have to show up at all?”

“Nope!”

Hooo-rah!

“Thank you very much,” I say. “And if there’s anything I can do to help out if needed, let me know,”

“Bake us some cookies?” she says. “Just kidding!

:-)

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jestjack March 12, 2013 at 5:32 am

Sadly…I have experience with this type of thing. What may have happened and happens in “this neck of the woods” more than not is the powers that be, decide to only prosecute one of the five or six charges for whatever reason. Then the Judge presides over some “watered-down” agreement of punishment on the remaining charge, which usually involves no jail time and no payment for damages to the victim. Sad ….very sad…The victims truly are the victims….At least you didn’t have to sit in Court all day.

funny March 12, 2013 at 6:24 am

Well, it’s unclear.

At least one of these guys has two prior felonies. In Arizona, he goes to jail, probably for the rest of his life. Arizona has some draconian laws that take choice out of the judge’s hands, in many cases. The other guy…I couldn’t find out much about him.

I’ve seen the plea-bargain process in action with the son of a friend. It is extremely coercive and highly unfair. To avoid the risk of going to jail for the rest of his life, he was forced to plead guilty to a charge that will make him a pariah, permanently — once he gets out of prison, he will never be able to get a job, nor will he ever get off probation, for which he has to pay with money that he can’t earn. That means his mother will have to pay for a probation officer for the rest of her life, and after that, he will probably go back to jail.

As a practical matter, he’ll probably end up in jail before she dies, because the conditions under which he will have to live are impossible.

Without a hearing, without a trial by one’s peers, without any informed discussion with a judge, the young man’s life is ruined.

As for the two armed robbers…well, they probably belong in jail. But even in their case, I suspect they belong in jail after a jury trial.

That notwithstanding, though, I am glad I didn’t have to spend a day (or more!) sitting in a courtroom waiting to testify that I never saw either man’s face. Even that wouldn’t have been all that much of a problem…I was willing to do it; all I wanted was a clue to how much time I should expect to donate to the cause and whether I would be allowed to bring a laptop into the courthouse so I could do some work while waiting to be called.

jestjack March 12, 2013 at 7:52 am

Well around here….no cell phones on in the Courtroom…if one goes off while Court is in session…you lose it. We have laws that you discuss that have minimum sentences and limit the Judge’s leeway based on lenient sentencing on felons who have no respect for the law in the past. IMHO….It’s a sad system …but the only one we have….

funny March 12, 2013 at 7:58 am

Yeah. I think people just plain ran out of patience with seeing psychotic criminals released only to turn around and commit some new outrage, often very violent and grim. But IMHO that was an overreaction. Why have judges and trial by jury at all, if we’re going to hamstring them?

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