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September 05, 2007


Wheeeeee! Our long national nightmare can start!


What, me schadenfreude? OH, yeah.

Come on, Hilzoy, sit back and enjoy it. If Craig really does fight this, he won't hurt anyone who doesn't deserve it. And just maybe, he'll wedge a few minds open just a little more. This is win-win.

As a former criminal defense lawyer, I can tell you that a plea of guilty is the same as if the defendant was convicted after a full trial. What's more is that the defendant is told this by the judge at the time of te plea.
I can't tell you how many of my clients unsuccessfully tried to withdraw their plea at some point before sentencing. VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE, espesially for the indigent defendant.
Why haven't I heard anything about this??

You know, this is the point I do not approve of in the common law system. The person may plead guilty for a variety of reasons. Therefore, it should be the job of the court of law to decide whether the defendant is guilty or not. The confession should be just one more piece of evidence, freely considered, as it is here, in a civil law country.

The other point I fail to understand is why it is considered the duty of the prosecutor to pursue the harshest possible sentence unles a plea bargain is made. Here, the prosecution is required to ask only for a reasonable sentence. Plea bargaining is prohibited. (On the other hand, the prosecution has the right to appeal from the verdict all the way to the Supreme Court.) There have even been cases where the prosecution files an appeal to get a more benign sentence when the district court is too harsh. (Nowadays, the court may not impose a harsher sentence than asked by the prosecution, so this situation is impossible.)

Of course, we consider the public prosecution to be a part of the judicial branch. Maybe that explains a lot.

And can anything that makes Bill Kristol's head explode be all bad?

The real question is, can anything that makes Bill Kristol's head explode be anything but all good?

[Modulo a nuclear fireball or sommat like dat. Let's not be silly here.]

I just flat don't believe that Craig didn't have a lawyer while his case was unfolding, and therefore think it's going to pretty hard to withdraw his plea. Plus, his years of being a legislator weigh heavily against the idea that he didn't understand the form he was mailed to read and sign. His last chance to fight was before he put his name to that document.

But more power to Billy Martin if he's encouraging Sen. Craig to keep this going.

I'm willing to believe that he didn't have a lawyer (or didn't actually tell his lawyer what happened) because no one who has been practicing law for more than 48 hours would have let Craig plead guilty pro se as Craig did.

Yes, Craig said he was going to get some information for his lawyer, but everything else shows that he never did get back to his lawyer. Maybe he thought that no one would notice that he had pled guilty to a misdemeanor in MSP and he was too embarrassed to talk to his lawyer or even a lawyer from the phone book in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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