CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Aaron Swartz Lawyers Seek Misconduct Review Against Prosecutor"

From TalkLeft. In part:

Which is why I'd like to see a independent review ofDOJ's use of the “hammer” nationally. I think people would be shocked at the number of cases in which the prosecutor tells the defense:

  • Take the deal now, or the offers will only get worse
  • Take the deal now, or we’ll supersede with more charges. (In drug cases, it is often, plead now, or we’ll file an enhancement notice for your prior drug conviction and double the mandatory minimum sentence from 10 years to 20 years.)
  • This offer is only open until the motions due date. If you file motions, all offers are withdrawn and there will be no future offers.
  • If you don’t plead before the pre-trial motions hearing, you are going to trial.
  • No offer unless you cooperate
  • Here’s the offer, but you have to waive your right to appeal
  • Here’s the offer, but you have to agree to a sentence of X and you can’t request a lesser or non-guideline sentence.
  • If you take the offer, we’ll agree not to prosecute your wife (or husband or child or parent). If you don’t, they are fair game and we aren’t threatening them, but we think we have a good case against them.

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...or what the defense tells the client:

-- take the deal or co-defendants will be offered substantially better deals for testimony helpful in winning a conviction.

-- take the deal because the statutes on which charges are based are broad, sweeping and difficult for jurors to understand.

-- take the deal (which will cost $40,000 to $60,000 in legal fees to negotiate) or ask relatives with money or equity in their homes to help raise legal fees...which will be upwards of $250,000 if it goes to trial.

Most citizens don't understand how our voracious, terrifyingly powerful legal system works until it knocks on their door.

Posted by: John K | Mar 17, 2013 12:47:20 AM

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