It is painful to the point of agony to read Judge Wilkinson’s responses in this exchange. His ivory tower defense of the way criminal justice is meted out in America leads me to conclude that justice is not just blind, but deaf. I choked upon reading, “And it is sad, frankly, to have a defense lawyer burdened with the knowledge that the heavy sentence received by a client after trial could have been avoided had the attorney only done more to persuade the defendant to take advantage of a generous plea agreement.” That response is outrageous, and belies a judicial hubris, assuming that all such clients are in fact guilty. Plea deals work quite well for the guilty, but for the innocent, not so much. One result of the 95% of cases resolved through plea bargains in state courts is that the guilty – who are inclined to accept these “generous” deals – often end up serving far less time than the innocent who cannot fathom taking such a deal.
I have been writing extensively of the case of a Catholic priest serving 67 years in prison after refusing (3 times) a “deal” to plead guilty and serve only one year. Most honest observers of this case believe this man was wrongly convicted. A part of this injustice is that the predominantly left-leaning media cannot bring themselves to question someone’s claim of victimhood, especially when the defendant is a Catholic priest. I have written of this unjust trial here.