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benfranklin1776 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 02:58 PM
Original message
Ashcroft Reducing Plea Bargain Discretion
Edited on Mon Sep-22-03 03:22 PM by benfranklin1776
Attorney General John Ashcroft is directing federal prosecutors to seek maximum charges and
penalties in more criminal cases and to limit use of plea bargains to get convictions.

"Federal prosecutors must charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable
offenses that are supported by the facts," Ashcroft said in a memo to U.S. attorneys released Monday. "Charges should not be
filed simply to exert leverage to get a plea."

Plea bargains still would be permitted, but would be more closely tied to actions by
defendants, in particular a guarantee of cooperation in an ongoing investigation, the memo said. The current guidelines give federal prosecutors far more flexibility in determining which charges to bring based on the facts of individual cases.

Other cases in which plea bargains should be used include those in which the
possible maximum sentence is unaffected by the agreement, when the
chances of conviction on original charges seem less likely as the case
progresses and on a case-by-case basis with approval in writing from a
supervisor.

http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/ASHCROFT_PLE...


Guess Jumping John Boy missed Justice Breyer's speech about the unfairness of mandatory minimum sentences. John wants the max in every case (unless his case is pathetically weak then any prison time will do!) so that the prison industrial complex will be kept well stocked.

John has forgotten that a prosecutor's foremost goal, ethically, is to seek justice not convictions.


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quispquake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. I guess more slave labour is...
..in need at the prisons...gotta keep 'em filled up so that Microsoft & TWA can make MORE MONEY by exploiting the prison labour...

another perky day :)

pp23
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Caution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. the prisons are entirely run by the inmates
All functions of the prison other than security and paperwork are in fact run by the inmates. Plumbing, power plants, food services, warehousing, carpentry, etc. Ashcroft is bowing to the wishes of the police and prison worker lobbies. Their jobs depend upon criminal action which is why new crimes are "invented" every day, which is why the drug war exists and which is why the US has the most extensive prison system in the history of the world. Within 20 years there won't be a single person in this country who doesn't have a close relative in prison. Land of the free...yeh ok.
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kskiska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 03:05 PM
Response to Original message
2. Geraldo reported this last night
but I hadn't seen any articles on it till now. This is outrageous. I remember seeing reports that he'd been paying visits to NY and other places doing some armtwisting for more death penalty cases. Looks like he's expanding that now.

"If all you want is to have everyone who is ever charged with something warehoused, this is a good thing," Lefcourt said. "It's not just about warehousing people. It's about a fair and sure system."

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benfranklin1776 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Yes John was described memorably by George Soros.
Edited on Mon Sep-22-03 03:10 PM by benfranklin1776
Mr. Soros said that Aschroft is "certainly not an individual who believes in an open society." Thus warehousing or executing as many people as he can fits nicely with his Puritanical view of the dispensation of justice. "To the stocks, the work farms or the gallows with you" is his vision of equal justice for all.
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Cappurr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 03:07 PM
Response to Original message
3. As a former prosecutor myself...
*State...not federal) I would quit before I'd obey these "commands".

In the office I worked in the Prosecutor gave all of us Assistants a great deal of discretion. As a result, I got a lot of people in treatment programs. If they wouldn't play ball and take a plea, I'd go for the throat. I put one guy away for seven years for shooting a police dog and he didn't even kill the dog. I offered him 364 days (which is about 4 months in actual time) and he refused. He got on the stand and lied through his teeth. Iactually brought the dog into court and had him marked as evidence (thought the judge was gonna have a heart atttack. He really reamed me in chambers) but I wanted to show the jury that the dog, altho a police dog was gentle unless told to attack. This dog was just in his yard (he was retired) and this idiot took a shot at him. Creep.
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. SEVEN YEARS for shooting a dog?
Such a humanitarian!

"If they wouldn't play ball and take a plea, I'd go for the throat."

No wonder we have 2.5 million people behind bars. Yes, yes, yes, I'm sure They All Deserved It.

Oh, don't go patting yourself on the back for hitting back at the meanies who hurt doggies and kitties. With over 1% of our population in prison, and close to 5% who have spent time behind bars, I'm sure there are now many more mad dogs out there -- the kind with two legs.

--bkl
Disgustipated.
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. The guy discharged a gun in a populated area, endangering
anyone within range. If the guy had a history of using violence, that had to be considered. If he was contrite, that has to be considered. If he was an asshole, a liar, or bellicose, that has to be considered. Seven years may not be out of the question if the judge thinks that person presented a danger. Lets face it, a person that harms animals can also be a danger to children.

It's not what you do, but how you do it, can apply to conduct in court.
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Hawkeye-X Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Do you use a "bingo" sheet?
I read one book about probation/prosecution using a "bingo" sheet.

Can you explain what that is, if you used it before?

Thanks!

Hawkeye-X
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 03:11 PM
Response to Original message
5. crack that whip, devilboy!
*shudder* i can't stand this man!
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 03:28 PM
Response to Original message
7. several questions
does anyone have info on economic or political ties between Ashcroft, or other high ranking politicians, and the prison industry? Is there any link between lobbying and new tougher sentencing.

Also, in one post perkypat23 mentioned MS using prison labor, can you document this? If so, I'd love to have it. I will make sure that it is all over the internet, targetting governments considering Linux as an alternative.

With a corporatist administration in power, it is not out of the realm of possibility that tougher laws are more for increased profits than to serve justice.
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quispquake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Some links
Found these by Googling...most are a coupla years old, but I haven't heard in recent days that Microsoft isn't using prison labour any more...

Microsoft
<http://monkeyfist.com/articles/194 >

<http://www.prisonactivist.org/pipermail/prisonact-list/... >
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Mandate My Ass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. The Wackenhuts are close friends of Bush Sr.
That's too close for comfort AFAIC.

Also, consider this:

"Private-prison interests contributed $361,293 during the 2000 election cycle, and 97.5 percent of that money went to winning candidates and sitting officeholders who would be considering prison spending in the next legislative session."

http://www.grassrootsleadership.org/Newsletter_fall_02/...

They also provide a link where you can look up specific contributor and recipient by state. I think it's called "follow the money."
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arcane1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. yep, can't turn a profit if you reduce crime!
thus, make the convictions you DO get as harsh as possible, and bingo- more moolah for the prison industry
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Mandate My Ass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Torquemada Ashcroft *loves* the notion of punishment
The harsher the better. Even if his hands are clean of prison-industry money, he's still just a bagman for the Bush Klan and their cronies.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
10. FOX:"Some want to be easier on criminals but you know who doesn't?....
Attorney General John Ahscroft that's who."


They then went on to spin the hell out of it so that anyone who only got their info from Fox news wouldn't know what the actual issue is. I know I know I shouldn't be watching it but it was such a concrete example of spin I couldn't resist.
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 06:34 PM
Response to Original message
16. not good
I can't believe Ashcroft would tie the Prosecutors hand this way. I guess a lot of time they use these deals to get people to give up bigger "fish". I was on jury duty today. The court my panel was assigned to wound up either getting guilty pleas or rescheduling trials so in the end we were dismissed without even getting to the courtroom. Ashcroft is an ass. He's too busy going after Tommy Chong and prostitutes in New Orleans to deal with real crime.
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