Aug 30, 2010

DNA samples urged in NY misdemeanor plea bargains

This is a very intelligent idea that we would do well to follow suit here in Connecticut.
When you think about how many felony crimes are committed in this state every day-serious crimes like aggravated assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, criminal restraint, stalking and others, that wind up being dropped from the felonies that were committed - to misdemeanors- within plea deals/"bargains", a process basically used to save the state and the courts-time, money and to avoid trials )

Thats right 98 percent of criminal cases are routinely plea bargained each year; these deals by their very nature are auto pilot compromises" between the prosecutor and the lawyer for the criminal-ie thus the criminalBottom line; that there are thousands of felony offenders walking around this state-(and traveling over state lines)- who though have committed often multiple dangerous violent felonies, with misleading "official "misdemeanor criminal records that lets face it show an entirely more innocuous picture of the actual danger that this person poses to the general public, all thanks to the current plea bargain method of processing even the most serious crimes here in Connecticut. Clearly other states share this quandary, but now New york appears to be now at least trying to fill the holes that are left by thier plea deal system that doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon.

Since it looks like plea bargains arn't going anywhere in the near future-more and more dangerous offenders will be let out on the streets with nary a prison term-but worse yet and by far more dangerous-criminal records that do not reflect the actual crimes that they have committed but rather a watered down plea bargain version which always includes certain charges dropped entirely while other charges will be dropped down from felony status to misdemeanor status, thus making the offender automatically ineligible for most repeat offender laws such as California's three strikes law, not to mention aide stepping most states mandatory DNA sample databases, which for the states that even have them, require samples from offenders convicted of felonies only - and certain felonies at that. This leaves a hige hole in our preventative criminal justice system-and an unnesary one at that.

The proposed legislation in New York acknowledges the problems inherent within their courts plea bargain adjudication model- and while they seem to be at once accepting that plea deals arent likely to change in the near future, they are rather shrewly trying to work within the confines of a broken system all in an effort to better protects its citizens Kudos.

Of course the George Orwellian references and decries of Big Brother will soon follow even the mere proposition of this DNA database for misdemeanor convictions albeit those arising from plea bargains with more serious original charges. But as usual the the core issue is at risk of becoming lost in the quagmire; Our judicial systems are broken and innocent human beings, including children- are being raped maimed tortured kidnapped and murdered every single day and in many many instances as a direct result of THE PLEA DEAL.

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