The Plea

There were no formal plea agreements in the Old West. You got caught in a criminal act or it was discovered that false allegation were made, you were executed. That was particularly so if you were brought before Judge Isaac Parker. Parker’s record for imposing the death sentence and the conviction ratio in his court were unequaled by any other jurist. Parker sentence 160 people to the gallows. Given what I’ve experienced with my brother’s situation, I think Parker was more humane than any of the attorney’s or investigators involved in Rick’s case. There was no real investigation done really – just a formality to make it look that way. There was a great deal of intimidation however. Bad lawyers can threaten and intimidate people into saying they are guilty for something they didn’t do. Such was the case with my brother. Plea bargaining should be outlawed. In the 1991 book Presumed Guilty: When Innocent People Are Wrongly Convicted, author Martin Yant discusses the use of coercion in plea bargaining. Bad lawyers make deals with prosecuting attorneys and bluff defense attorneys and their clients into pleading guilty to lesser offenses. As a result, people who might have been acquitted because of lack of evidence, but also who are in fact truly innocent, will often plead guilty to the charge. Why? In a word, fear. And the more numerous and serious the charges, studies have shown, the greater the fear. That explains why prosecutors sometimes seem to file every charge imaginable against defendants. The theoretical work based on the Prisoner’s dilemma is one reason why, in many countries, plea bargaining is forbidden. I couldn’t agree more. I told my brother to take a plea and sign a confession written by his attorney. I’m going to fix what I did. I’m not going to give up on my brother. The truth will come out. I’ve been receiving threatening emails since January so I know I’m close. The prison that was intended to destroy my family is going to be the one where false accusers live out the rest of their days. God knows what they did. God and the authorities know what Tom Bell and his gang did in California’s Gold Country more than 150 years ago too. Bell and his men attempted to rob the Camptonville Stage outside of Marysville in 1856. A passenger on the stage, Mrs. Tilghman, was killed in the ensuing gunplay. When Tom Bell was eventually apprehended he was hung on the spot. No plea bargain, simply justice.