More than ninety percent of convictions are made because of plea bargains. Is it really justice? Sometimes yes and other times no. One of the fuels pushing a plea bargain is money. Every time a defendant and prosecutor make a deal the state saves millions of dollars by dismissing a trial. Crowded courts, overworked prosecutors and the pressure to push cases through quickly contribute to plea bargains. Plea bargains assure convictions while trials do not. A family may voice their opinion about a plea bargain but the decision to follow though with one isn’t theirs. Many times making a deal isn’t what the family wants and the negotiated time served isn’t nearly enough for the crime committed.

What kind of bargaining is considered? When the defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest a sentence reduction might be on the table. I think of the horrific murder in Mount Vernon Ohio. http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/01/06/ohio.family.sentence/ Matthew Hoffman accepted the deal from the prosecutor. He would get life in prison instead of the death penalty, no chance for parole, and would tell law enforcement where the bodies of Tina Herrmann, 32, son Kody, 11, and friend Stephanie Sprang, 41 were. Hoffman also kidnapped and rapped Kody’s 13-year-old sister. She was found four days later bound and gagged in Hoffman’s basement. Obviously he deserved to die for what he’d done but finding the remains for the families was important. Some think the death penalty is the easy way out.

Charge bargaining drops charges or reduces a charge to a less serious offense or agreement in exchange for a plea by the defendant. It saves the state from investing in a lengthy trial costing thousands of dollars. Cases like the recent one in New Hampshire against the Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams. Allegations of sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and improper use of funds fueled the investigation.Reams just stepped down from office. http://www.wmur.com/news/reams-leaving-office-amid-investigation/26535126#!01yKg

Brave women came forward to stand up against this powerful man. I’m not sure making a deal with him is true justice. Reams will receive 42,000, the rest of his salary for the year. He claims to have retired. Sounds like a man on a power trip wanting to have the last word.

My concern is in the 15 years of his career how many other women have experienced sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination? What amount of funds has he truly misused? And the kicker is how many investigations have been compromised? Cases like Wendy Towles might need to be reopened. Because of Reams actions families will wonder if their case was investigated properly. I know Beth and Dawn, Wendy Towle’s sisters do. http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20110520-NEWS-105200397


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