April 23, 2006
The links between sentencing and plea/trial rates
This interesting news story from upstate New York concerning an upcoming federal trial on child pornography charges highlights the links between sentencing issues and trial/plea practices. Though the article is mostly about the prosecution of child pornography cases, it also provide a window into sentencing and trial/plea issues:
Federal judges in Rochester say they've never had a child porn case go to trial in the past 20-plus years. Authorities say they expect to see more in the future because of the spread of child pornography over the Internet and because moves to toughen sentences for the crime may discourage defendants from taking a plea....
Court records show that [the defendant] was offered plea bargains — the typical resolution to child pornography charges — but he insisted that he be tried instead....
Federal authorities say recent congressional moves to stiffen sentences for child pornography may prompt more defendants to choose trials. In 2003, for instance, Congress passed the Protect Act, designed to strengthen the protection of children and to toughen the punishment for those who molest children or view child pornography.
"There's not much of an advantage to pleading guilty these days because the (sentencing) guidelines are so high," said Albany-based Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Spina. He said he has prosecuted federal child pornography cases for 15 years and has never had one go to trial.
April 23, 2006 at 07:03 AM | Permalink
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Posted by: william gleason | May 6, 2006 10:06:02 AM