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View Diary: Too Big to Fail or Too Big to Jail? (44 comments)

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  •  I just had an interesting revelation. I was (2+ / 0-)

    watching Chris Hayes and they were discussing a completely different subject but someone said that 97% of the government inditements result in plea deals.  It was an asounding statistic and gave me an insight.  The government is incapable of trying these cases, it is not that there is no evidence, it is that if they cannot muscle these guys into a plea(and they can't unless you are talking about the small fries). It is an indication to me that most of our government attorney's aren't prepared to go into a courtroom and try tough cases.  We have a few, Fitzgerald, Spitzer and Guilani but it is a very small group.  

    •  Completely disagree. There are many professional.. (8+ / 0-)

      attorneys throughout DOJ that would be more than willing to put these cases in front of a judge. It's entirely a political question. If the AG and his fellow political appointees (such as Lanny Breuer) aren't willing to go forward with a case, it's dead.

      "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

      by 2020adam on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:39:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree: a matter of political will... (0+ / 0-)

        ...linked, as always to the drivers of Greed and Fear.

        For all the nut-wing whining, *extra*governmental sanctions and punitive measures are far more potent persuaders than spinning the wheel in court.

        Simply "doing one's job" pales in significance - which is why I want to know WHY HARRY FOLDED...abut that's another thread (theoretically).

        Dick Cheney: "Reagan proved deficits don't matter"
        Mitch McConnell: "There's no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue"

        by chmood on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:21:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree. Our government's attorneys (6+ / 0-)

      are extremely capable (I'm talking about the federal level).  DOJ recruits the best in the country out of law school, and every government attorney I know is itching to get into the court room.  

      •  Then why do they plead out 97% of their cases if (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kurt

        they are competent and itching to get into a courtroom.  I think they are itching to post "wins"  not try cases.

        •  Lots of reasons. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hoplite9, white blitz

          Time is one of the biggest...DOJ has had a hiring freeze for a few years now and was already overburdened to begin with.  Trials are extremely time-consuming, so everyone is under pressure to make deals to cut down on trial time.  Dockets are back logged for up to a year in some places.  

          Pleas are also a way of making sure a guilty person doesn't go free when taking a case to trial might be risky.  A bird in the hand and all that.  

          I understand that the 97% statistic seems very high, but let's not feed into the "government employees are all lazy slags who don't want to work" meme.  I live in DC and know quite a few people who went the government route after law school...these are bright, incredibly ambitious people.  

          •  Pleas are also a way to force innocent people (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kristina40, white blitz, chmood

            without resources into a deal they shouldn't be making.  The government can and has ruined peoples lives.  They can and have ignored real wrong doing because it wasn't easy(the banksters). Sometimes you do things that are hard just because it is the right thing to do.  I honestly expected more of the DOJ over the last 4 years and have been sadly disappointed at every turn.  I will have to take your word for the dedicated people you describe because I really have seen no evidence of it.  I have seen state AG's with more courage, Sneiderman in NY and Biden in Delaware, they have attempted to do the heavy lifting.  The DOJ stood by and let the financial crisis fester even though the FBI made them aware as did the state AG's before it ever happened.

          •  "Ah...I see you are...a lawyer...." (0+ / 0-)
            DOJ recruits the best in the country out of law school
            DOJ has had a hiring freeze for a few years now and was already overburdened to begin with
            ...So, DOJ would recruit the best if they weren't being deliberately short-sheeted?  I mean, these can't both be true....
            Pleas are also a way of making sure a guilty person doesn't go free when taking a case to trial might be risky.  A bird in the hand and all that.
            All I see is that pleas at the federal level are EXACTLY for the purpose of letting the guilty go free:  no prison time, no loss for the perpetrators at all, aside from the minor inconvenience of having their staffs engineer workarounds - leaving DOJ holding a pile of bird doo and a picture of a completely different bird.

            But all that means they're THE BEST, I guess.  AND they can't unsnarl themselves from their own procedures well enough to be effective at their jobs?   Jesus, I would LOVE to have a job like that (hell, at my age, I'd love to make even a quarter the salary of a DOJ new-hire)  Dammit, I don't even make a living wage in exchange for being (arguably) the best in the world at what I do, and I have to subsidize the payroll for the utterly non-functional "results" on the DOJ....

            It would drive me to drink - if I could afford the drink....

            (hat-tip to Austin, Ossman, Proctor & Bergman, LLC)

            Dick Cheney: "Reagan proved deficits don't matter"
            Mitch McConnell: "There's no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue"

            by chmood on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:48:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  As misslegal beagle says, taking a case to trial (0+ / 0-)

          might be risky.  It can be very difficult for a jury to understand and follow the evidence in a white collar crime case.

          "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's the thing you know for sure that just ain't so." Mark Twain

          by Expat Okie on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 02:37:08 PM PST

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          •  better, then, to see them as utterly powerless to (0+ / 0-)

            STOP THE PRIVATE SECTOR'S ABUSE OF THE CITIZENRY?

            I just don't see how that dog's gonna fly...(not on my planet, anyway)....

            Dick Cheney: "Reagan proved deficits don't matter"
            Mitch McConnell: "There's no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue"

            by chmood on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:26:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  this is true of every court (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Van Buren

      Very very very few criminal cases, of any type, actually ever go to trial (less than ten percent). Whether it's local DAs, state Attorney Generals, or Feds. Nearly all of them end in plea deals. Many criminal attornies go their entire careers without ever speaking to a jury.

      Judges encourage that, since it frees up court time and saves resources.

    •  This idea has been explored (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      white blitz

      and no, they could not possibly handle all those cases in court. It's a factory. Those with money pay and get out of it and those that don't provide free prison labor for private corporations. #Winning

      ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

      by Kristina40 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:46:33 PM PST

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    •  Please finish this sentence (0+ / 0-)
      ...[I]f they cannot muscle these guys into a plea (...).
      If they can't, then WHAT?  You left that part out!

      Dick Cheney: "Reagan proved deficits don't matter"
      Mitch McConnell: "There's no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue"

      by chmood on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:16:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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