In 2016, 97.3% of defendants in the federal criminal justice system conceded guilt. This means that less than 3% of defendants exercised their constitutional right to trial. The vast majority of a criminal defense attorney's time is dedicated to plea bargaining - we negotiate with prosecutors to reach an acceptable outcome for clients. Plea negotiations are an important tool for defendants. However, when a defendant wishes to go to trial, is he or she punished for doing so?
In The Justice System, the federal government recently announced that it will be adding approximately 300 Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) nationwide. This increase marks the largest in decades. The government intends to increase resources to combat violent crime, enforce immigration laws, and help address the devastating opioid crisis.
The attorney-client privilege in The Justice System, which ensures that a client can honestly communicate with an attorney in seeking advice and aid, is a cornerstone of the U.S. legal system. The privilege generally prevents an attorney from being compelled or even voluntarily disclosing information conveyed in confidence by a client for the purpose of seeking legal counsel.
In The Justice System, often Animal Cruelty cases evoke more outrage among the general public than a child abuse case. And, for anyone that has owned a pet, it's not difficult to understand why. Not only are pets seen as part of the family, but some pet owners even go as far as to give pets birthday and Christmas presents. Annually, owners spend more than $50 billion on pet care, presents, and even professional photos. Today, more than two thirds of American households own pets, and that number is on the rise.
Don't forget about The Justice System with the firearms opener of 2017's deer season just days away. Remember that the laws governing hunting will be vigorously enforced. Year after year, I take on clients who are charged with a variety of offenses by Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers. These officers, who possess wide-ranging authority, have power to investigate and arrest for not only wildlife and hunting offenses, but also for all violations of law. Some say their authority exceeds that of a Michigan State Police Trooper.
In the justice system, when people are incarcerated, they should not expect much privacy. It is understood that law enforcement needs to be able to observe inmates, even listening in on their phone calls and reading their mail. However, law enforcement officials from prison guards to prosecutors know that there are certain privileges that even incarcerated individuals have, especially the attorney-client privilege.
The Justice System is changing. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo to federal prosecutors last month implementing a new approach as they evaluate what crimes to charge and sentences to pursue. Although ultimate sentencing discretion remains with the Court, the government's position has an impact.
Do you believe that the justice system is not fair? That it helps some while hurting others without any rhyme-or-reason to it all? These are common complaints because, admittedly, the justice system is imperfect. Plus, it will always feel unfair when you get the short end of the stick. That's why its important that those individuals who are a part of "the system," police, prosecutors, and judges, not only make sure to be impartial and objective, but also to work hard to remove the appearance of favoritism and subjectivity. It's because of these rules that the recent actions of four Wayne County prosecutors set off alarm bells.
The Justice System - The Law Office of John Freeman, PLLC is pleased to announce that the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys has honored Mr. Freeman as one of the "10 Best Criminal Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in Michigan".