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Re: Jim Bell Interviewed in Anarchapulco

On Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 12:07:57 PM PDT, juan <juan.g71 AT gmail.com> wrote:

On Tue, 20 Mar 2018 00:40:02 +0000 (UTC)
jim bell wrote:

(I forgot to send this reply sooner)

>> There is such a thing as the "Speedy Trial
> >Act",  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedy_Trial_Act However, it has
> >as many holes as a piece of Swiss cheese.

>  not surprising I guess. A quick look at that page makes my head hurt. 

The "speedy-trial clock" can be tolled (stopped) by as little as a "motion" (an official request to the court) by a party:  Either by the prosecution or the defense.  While in theory only motions that must be responded to would toll the clock, in reality there are usually a dozen or more 'tolls' that prevent a defendant from getting benefit from this legislation.  

>> However, the Feds have a
>> limited capacity to house pre-trial prisoners,

>  So that may  be a good excuse for them to build more jails. 

They can also house prisoners in city or county jails:  Actually, they continue to do so.  I was housed at Pierce County jail from May through about June 1997, and at Kitsap County jail until about Sept 30, 1997, and then to a newly-constructed Federal jail (Seatac Federal Detention center, in Seatac Washington) from then on.    But housing prisoners in existing jails costs money, and buying new jails is slow and costs, too.  

>> a limited number of
>> prosecutors, courtrooms, judges, investigators, etc.  Currently they
>>are putting on about 77,000 new defendants each year, probably
>> convicting 76,000 of them, yet only having about 2,500 trials each
>> year. 

>  increasing the number of judges and other associated criminal
>   parasites may be harder, for bureaucratic reasons I'd
>  guess, so that may be a bottleneck for the system. 

One of the easiest group of people to convince to take my offer will be the foreigners being charged for illegal re-entry.  First, generally they know they are guilty, at least in the opinion of the prosecutor, and they expect to be convicted, and they'd certainly like that $3,000.

>still your idea seems to depend on two assumptions
>  1) people would be let off if the state can't judge them (dubious I'd
 > say)

Initially, there will be lawyers for many tens of thousands of prisoners who will be demanding speedy trials for their clients, knowing that the Feds won't be able to supply those trials.  So, getting them out is the lawyer's task, not mine.    I think it will be easier to force an acquittal due to the government's inability to put on a sufficient number of trials.

>  2) enough people will demand a trial. And why? Because you offer them

That is merely an estimate as to the payoff; it can be changed as data is collected.  If the Feds have to stop adding new defendants into the system, signifying that they are running out of capacity, that will be detected by the regular scans of the PACER.GOV system.  If that slowing isn't sufficient, a raise to a higher value of payment is likely going to be necessary.
It is not necessary that EVERY prisoner intend to accept the deal:  For some of them, they will consider $3,000 to be utterly ignorable.  But for a large fraction, those who already expect to be convicted, they would appreciate the money.  

 > So, they don't plead 'guilty', they get a trial 

I hope that 77,000 don't plead guilty, per year; Maybe 4-5,000 will get a trial.  What about the rest?   

>and they get
> 3 times the sentence? That is still a big risk. Getting $3000
> inflated dollars doesn't cover that risk at all it seems. 

There is such a thing as "vindictive sentencing", which at least in theory shouldn't happen.  7.95 4. Vindictive Sentencing | Norton Tooby
While that doesn't mean that it never does happen, lawyers will likely be on the lookout for instances of it.  
Refusal to accept a plea agreement SHOULD not justify a higher sentence.

>  "your idea can only work IF enough people don't plead guilty 

What is 'enough people don't plead guilty'?  The way I see it, if as few as 5,000 more people (from 2500 currently) refuse to plead guilty, the number of people who cannot be given a trial will go up dramatically.  I am thinking it will be hard to put on over 5,000 trials.  So if 7,500 plead not guilty, some will have to be released.  Once the defendants see that the system is beginning to 'break', the rest will be encouraged to join in.

It is true that the government has a big lever:  It could start giving out really good deals.  True, but the defendants will understand why those deals are being offered.  

>AND the   state doesn't just keep them in jail waiting for a trial.

Initially, this will address the Fed's system, not the states.  But the states could be next.  

And remember, that's the defendants' lawyers job.

>  I don't think the part about getting enough people to cooperate can
  be solved by offering them $3000.

Okay, that's an issue which needs to be resolved.   How much would it take?  Remember, the offer does not have to attract all the defendants.  Currently, somebody indicted in the Federal system  probably has a 99%+ change of being convicted.  Change things so that probability drops to, say, 30% will be a major advance.

> In other words, about 30 convictions for each actual trial.  I
> am hopeful to drop this to maybe 1.5 to 2 convictions for each actual
> trial. I don't believe that the Feds will be able to put on more than
> about 5,000 trials, given their limited capacity.  Give virtually
> every defendant a powerful motivation to demand a jury trial, and I
> think the large majority of them will do so.  There would still be
> plea agreements, but they will be on a far better basis, for the
> defendants, than before. Jim Bell