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Criminal Defense Archives

Plea deals and the trial penalty: Part II

In our last post, we began a discussion about plea deals, which are how the vast majority of criminal charges are resolved. Although plea bargains have a legitimate purpose and can sometimes be beneficial for defendants, many individuals are forced into a plea deal by the "trial penalty." Essentially, the prosecutor threatens harsher charges and longer sentences if the defendant chooses to go to trial rather than accepting a deal.

Supreme Court upends search and seizure protections: Part I

We have written numerous times about the need to vigorously protect our civil rights. This is especially important in the context of police actions. The Fourth Amendment, for instance, protects us against "unreasonable search and seizure" by law enforcement. This usually means that police cannot search our personal property (or our person) without first obtaining a search warrant.

Wrongfully convicted teenager finally set free

Every year, advocacy organizations like the Innocence Project uncover an increasing number of wrongful convictions and work tirelessly to free those who have been imprisoned for crimes they didn't commit. Although it would be comforting to believe that these convictions were the result of honest mistakes that could not have been foreseen, it often turns out that prosecutors acted irresponsibly and maliciously.

Supreme Court calls out racism in jury selection

The Constitution's Sixth Amendment guarantees that someone charged with a crime has the right to a trial by an impartial jury. Bias and impartiality cannot be accounted for in all circumstances, but we should at least prevent the cherry-picking of juries by overzealous prosecutors eager to secure a conviction.

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