San Francisco’s federal prosecutors acted legally

I have to go Andrews and Midland County Texas soon and see my ancillary attorney but in the meantime post this article: We want officials to get tough when it comes to prosecuting criminals. It’s not always so easy or simple to balance protecting rights of defendants and protecting the public.

Wicket Morris and Stephanie Jones were charged with possessing crack with the intent to sell it. The charge specified a mandatory 10-year prison term. When Morrris and Jones refused to plead guilty and testify against murder defendant Dennis Cyrus, prosecutors responded by filed additional charges stemming from previous felony convictions, which increased the minimum term to 20 years. If you need an attorney I can recommend this one, he is a great personal injury attorney.

In 2009, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled in that San Francisco’s federal prosecutors had violated the rights of two alleged crack cocaine dealers by filing additional charges that were punishable by at 20 years or more in prison when the defendants refused to testify against a gang member in a murder case.

Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle staff writer, wrote the story posted today, February 3, 2011, under the headline; “S.F.: U.S. attorney’s tough plea bargains legal.”

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, Egelko reported, that San Francisco’s federal prosecutors acted within the law when they told accused drug dealers they could pull down long prison sentences if they didn’t agree to plead guilty and to testify against other defendants.

Former U.S.  Gov’t. Attorney Joseph Russoniello used the hard-hitting plea-bargaining strategy, threatening drug defendants with throwing the book at them if they refused to cooperate. Prosecutors then pushed for long sentences for defendants who fought the charges or even asked for release on bail.

Egelko quoted Judge Patel as saying the prosecutors had “short-circuited the truth-finding process” by insisting that both defendants give up their rights immediately, before receiving any offer of leniency.

However, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said, basing their decision on thirty years of previous rulings, “Deals conditioned on cooperation are permissible.” Although plea agreements require some “give-and-take, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the prosecution’s decision to present its best offer up front.” All in all this sort of reminds me of a recent Seattle cases. Speaking of that if you are in the emerals city and need a qualified lawyer overall.

I can suggest this one for probate law, wills, trusts and of course estate planning in Ward and Glasscock County TX,  pinsonlaw.com is a fine fine attorney overall. Egelko noted that Russoniello, who was the Bay Area’s chief federal prosecutor from January 2008 to August 2010, stated that the ruling reaffirms prosecutors’ long-standing power to use tougher sentences as leverage in plea-bargaining.

Egelko quoted Russoniello as saying, “That’s what induces people in the business of committing crimes to cooperate.” Egelko adds that Russoniello’s successor, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, had no comment, but Federal Public Defender Barry Portman said Haag’s office has not continued Russoniello’s policy, although it would be free to do so following the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

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