1. #1
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    Default Plea deal frees WV Arsonist

    Here we go again. How is it possible that a person convicted of child neglect gets a sentence of 3-15 but two people charged with multiple counts of MURDER can plea down the charge to involuntary manslaughter and get off after 3 years? And I guess the Arson charges were just swept under the carpet all together. When are our Courts going to take charges of arson for profit serious?

  2. #2
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    You have to understand the realities of the criminal justice system. Here are a few thoughts.

    1. Plea bargains are an absolute neccesity. Without them, the system woud come to a grinding halt. It allows both sides of the issue latitude to resolve complex, complicated issues ina timely, cost-effective and fair manner.

    2. The Arson charges were not "swept under the rug". Very often in a plea bargain, the defendant pleads guilty to only one charge because the sentence on the other charges would have been served concurrently (at the same time) anyway. It makes for a cleaner case.

    3. Nobody, in reality, serves a full sentence. There are guidelines published for minimum sentences, parole eligibility, etc. I have no idea what they are in WV, but in NJ, 3.5 years for involuntary manslaughter is about what we would expect someone with no record to serve. About a third of a 15 year sentence.

    4. This stuff happens everyday everywhere. You guys get all riled up when an arsonist pleas out. But what you don't see are the hundreds of cases that are plea bargained out in every courtroom in America everyday. Some of the deals are mind boggling. Where is the indignation when some gangbanger gets a sweetheart deal for a ride-by because all the witnesses are too scared to testify? Right! You don't give a rat's ***.

    5. I have never seen the facts of this case. How do we know that this was a strong case? How do we know that the State wasn't lucky to get what they got? How do you know the State wouldn't have lost this case at trial? The standard to make an arrest (probable cause) is a far cry from the standard to prove guilt in the courtroom (reasonable doubt). It could be that the case sucked and the prosecutor was cutting his losses. It could be that the prosecutor was afraid of the case and was protecting his/her personal record. I don't know and you probably don't either.

    Just some thoughts
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

  3. #3
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    I think we all understand all the politiking that goes on in the courtrooms. I just have one question though, not that it makes a difference.
    How could they not know the kids were in the house if they went around dousing the house with gasoline?

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    Originally posted by ntvilleff:
    I think we all understand all the politiking that goes on in the courtrooms. I just have one question though, not that it makes a difference.
    How could they not know the kids were in the house if they went around dousing the house with gasoline?
    Nobody said that they didn't. That's what I am talking about. We don't know the facts of the case so we cannot judge the merits of it.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    [edit test. no need to reply]

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