Thursday, May 10, 2012

Little fish

It's the nature of snitching in the criminal justice system: Big fish get off, little fish get eaten. From the Houston Chronicle, see: "Drug crime sends first-time offender grandmom to prison for life: Houstonian, who has no secrets to trade, is doing more time than drug lords."


CLH said...

So tired of seeing crap like this. I've begun sending links to your articles and some from other blogs to my congressman... doubtful if he even reads them, but what else to do?

ColeenSanLeon said...

If you figure. It out CLH, Grits, please let me know!!

DEWEY said...

So, how much "justice" can you afford??

Anonymous said...

Dewey, the point of the article is not that you get the justice you can "afford," but that you can get a better deal on your case if you provide valuable information on criminal activity. The choice is this: prosecute each case on its own merits without regard for the information that a defendant might have to trade (which will result in more trials with their concomitant expense to the taxpayer) and accept the fact that more criminals will escape any punishment at all; or accept less punishment for those criminals who have information of use to law enforcement in exchange for catching more criminals.

In the cases such as this one, where the criminal either refuses to cooperate or has no information to offer, would you prefer to give her the same sentence as you give to the cooperating defendant? If so, then there is no incentive for a defendant to cooperate, because he gets the same punishment either way.

This is no more unfair than the fact that I get a better price per widget when I buy 1000 than when I only buy 10. And if you think using an economic model has no place in criminal justice, then your taxes must be a lot less burdensome than mine.

Attorney 1 said...

The cases that always bug me are when a man asks his woman (who has kids) to drive him somewhere so he can do some business. He buys drugs while she stays in the car. The get stopped, and both are arrested. He gives up the dealer and gets a light sentence. She has nothing to give up, may not even have known that he was going to buy drugs, and she will get a longer sentence, lose her kids, lose her car, etc.

Doen'st sound like justice to me. It is one reason that I do not participate in the criminal INjustice system in this country.

Attorney 1 said...

Another case. Man moves in with woman and stashes drugs somewhere in the residence. Police know he is buying/selling drugs and raid the residence. Because she is an adult and lives there, she gets arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute. She has nothing to give up, having no knowledge of the drugs. He gives up a seller or maybe even some buyers, gets a light sentence. She gets a longer sentence, and loses all of her stuff from the residence, and if she has kids, loses them too.

Arachne646 said...

08:49--If you think this kind of injustice is the most efficient and economical we can get, you must think we're winning the War on Drugs. As mentioned in the article, Law Enforcement Against Prosecution
have the evidence and experience to show that interdiction and prosecution don't work against drug misery, and make the problems worse. Mothers convicted of non-violent drug crimes shouldn't be in prison for Mothers' Day. Sign the petition and learn something at the website.

Phillip Baker said...

Yet another example, as if we needed one, that our criminal justice system is corrupt and broken from cops through the prison system through appeals through the Court of Criminal Appeals. Prosecutors already often extort guilty pleas by over-charging the defendant, knowing he'll likely take the plea rather than risk the far worse (trumped) charges the DA has filed. Then there are the about 90% of all criminal cases- the misdemeanors- which are dispatched usually without even a judge or lawyer.

Marian Hoy said...

I’m so glad many have started paying attention to the current DA. I've watched Lehmberg for years, and her inability to demand accountability for the continued shooting deaths of unarmed minorities by Austin police shootings is indefensible.
Apparently Ms. Lehmberg has forgotten her ‘job description’ according to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 2.01, is: “. . . It shall be the primary duty of all prosecuting attorneys, including any special prosecutors, not to convict, but to see that justice is done. . .”
When Austin police shot Nathaniel Sanders in the back and killed him on 5/11/09, Lehmberg did not prosecute. The city of Austin paid Key Point (a national company who provides unbiased evaluations of police shootings) upwards of $50,000.00 of tax payer dollars to conduct an independent review of the officer involved shooting of Sanders.
Key Point stated: “. . .significant tactical errors that rose to the level of recklessness were made by the involved officer [who killed Sanders], and that but for this recklessness the use of deadly physical force might very well have been avoided. We have also found the use of deadly physical force was NOT justified.”
Even though Key Point presented verifiable evidence (enough to legally prosecute the officer who killed Sanders) to APD, Austin Police Monitor, Chief Acevedo, Lehmberg, among other city officials, but the DA never filed against that officer.
Also, in the Bryon Carter case, the officer involved was ‘no billed’ by the Grand Jury. On 5/31/11, Bryon sat, unarmed, in the passenger seat of a vehicle. Police shot wildly 5 times, hitting the driver once or twice, but killing Bryon. The officer who killed Carter was no billed.
Where is the accountability for those two deaths? Why aren’t charges brought against those officers?
For the 5 New Orleans officers who shot innocent and unarmed people, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, there were not only convictions, but prison sentences of 65 years for one officer. Two others received 40 years apiece, two others 35 years apiece, and one received 6 years.
The country is demanding accountability from prosecutors, and we should too!
One must be aware that there is a grassroots movement against the blinding power of the criminal justice machine that continues to indiscriminately kill. Across the country, police murder is routinely neutralized by a disreputable DA who makes empty public statements saying the officer who murdered was a hero in the shooting death, while the unarmed victim is made out to be culpable for his own death.
I’ve also watched Charlie Baird. Remember, he’s the judge who came out of obscurity to posthumously exonerate Tim Cole. Tim was arrested and convicted in west Texas in the early 1990’s for sexual assault he did not commit. After 14 years in prison, Tim died of an asthma attack. Judge Baird was the one who stepped up and said, “I’m going to correct this wrong.” And did! It was the first posthumous exoneration in this country. Judge Baird took a chance because it was the right thing to do!
It appears that Baird isn’t afraid to stand up for minorities and those of us who fall victim to the criminal justice machine.
I want to see the mandated ‘job description’ of a District Attorney’s to ‘see that justice is done’ fulfilled in each and every case!
I want the criminal justice system to stop being manipulated by disreputable prosecutors, and I want the criminal justice system to begin working for the people, just as it was designed to do.
Thank you!
Marian Hoy
Former Dallas police officer and trainer of police for 31 years

Anonymous said...

I think your cause would be better served in Mexico, 19:00. Where's their justice? Or does a border delineate boundaries and concern?