No Honor Amongst Thieves

With the number of laws on the books the state has to fast track as many cases as it can. Fast track, in this instance, refers to the practice of offering lesser sentences in exchanges for a guilty plea. This is commonly referred to as a plea bargain and is often chosen by those facing prosecution because the guarantee of 18 months in a cage beats the possibility of 50 years. But there’s no honor amongst thieves so even if you take the plea bargain you may not get the lesser sentence:

A 16-year-old Utah boy was sentenced earlier this month to up to 15 years in a maximum security prison after a judge changed the terms of a plea agreement.

Cooper Van Huizen pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree felony robbery for his role in a home invasion late last year.

The teen, who had no prior criminal history, and his parents believed the plea deal would result in 180 days in jail.

But District Judge Ernie Jones told Van Huizen at the May 7 sentencing hearing he believed the terms recommended by prosecutors and the probation board were “too soft” and instead sent the boy to Utah State Prison for one to 15 years.

Never make a deal with the devil state because it, like all disreputable individuals, cannot be trusted to honor its side of the bargain. The darker part of my kind of hopes that this type of behavior becomes more common amongst judges. I feel that the plea bargaining system has put a lot of innocent people in prison and enabled the state to prosecute more people than it could if it had to bring each suspect to trail. If more judges changed the terms of plea bargains it would encourage people to take their case to trail, which would increase the state’s costs for prosecuting. On the other hand I would like to see this judge be disbarred for failing to honor his team’s side of the bargain.

2 thoughts on “No Honor Amongst Thieves”

  1. In theory, the judge is not on one side or the other. They are (in theory) there to act as a check on the power of the state. In reality, they seem to be more of a rubber stamp for abuses of prosecutors and the state.

    An ethical prosecutor who is following the rules will get their plea bargain offers approved and signed off by the judge ahead of time. The prosecutor doesn’t run the courtroom, and this is a judge doing what he is supposed to do. 6 months in jail for multiple home invasion robberies is damn near zero punishment for those actions.

    This same thing happened with convicted child predator Roman Polanski (sp?) when he fled the country. He plead out to a slap on the wrist for drugging and raping a child, and the judge didn’t approve the prosecutor’s offer of (basically) time served as a sentence.

  2. While I agree with Ben that a six month sentence is light for the crimes 15 years in Max Sec is destroying the potential for this 16 year to ever be a positive towards society. What this creates is a 31year old who has only been exposed to the criminal element for the mmajority of his life.

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