Just the facts. YOU DECIDE.
I'm posting one question and answer each day on this issue. Share this with everyone you know.
QUESTION # 2. What nation has the highest rate of conviction in the world?
THE WINNER IS: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
The United States is also the clear winner of QUESTION #2. Of every 1,000 citizens who enter America's courts as defendants today, only 13 go free. A nation's rate of conviction is generally considered a good gauge of the fairness of its system of justice. The United States government's 98.7% conviction rate is a clear sign that the process has become nothing more than a conviction machine for all who are trapped within the system, with the exception of the very wealthy who can afford to fight against the stacked deck of a government prosecution.
How much does it cost to fight a criminal charge? Government on the one hand has any amount of money it chooses to spend, and is armed with the blunt tools of secret grand juries (where the truth is rarely told), the power to seize its victims assets so they have no money to fight or go to trial, and the prosecutor can grant immunity to witnesses who agree to support government's case by giving testimony against you. This testimony is quite rarely true, and I have witnessed cases where government makes its witnesses say the exact opposite of what is already on record, and they get away with it.
So how about the few who are wealthy and/or powerful enough a) to mount a defense against such a powerful bully, and 2) keep the bully from stealing their assets up front to prevent them from defending themselves?
From seven years of working on federal criminal cases, I can tell you that the answer is shocking. Take the recent case of Raj Rajaratnam, who was charged with insider trading. He spent over $40 million in legal fees during his trial, and that does not even include the appeal. Goldman Sachs board member, Rajat Gupta, spent over $30 million so far, and the bills are still coming in.
Bill Ruehle, CFO of BroadCom, successfully defended himself against a federal onslaught where government falsely claimed he had backdated stock options, but it cost him, "tens of millions of dollars," according to Forbes Magazine. (The High Cost of Mounting a White- Collar Criminal Defense, May 30, 2015)
So what about us mere mortals when we are chosen as government's victim of the day? How much would it cost us to even try and fight against a false charge? An estimate by Duke University Law student, Sarah Ribstein, who studied several criminal cases, estimates that a trial of one week will cost the defendant approximately $1,000,000.00.
Quotes from two criminal defense firms with whom I worked closely for defending a provably innocent victim of government attack were $1.3-1.5 million, so she's probably close.
That is why the United States has the highest rate of citizens pleading guilty, and the highest rate of conviction of any nation on earth. Only the extremely wealthy can afford to fight the biggest bully on the planet, so they plead guilty in hopes that their family might survive the attack financially. This is wrong, and needs to change. Government must be held to the same standards as its victims, and when they break the law or make false charges, someone on their side needs to go to jail instead of getting a raise (as is the case today) and their victim needs to be compensated.
We don't need a Revolution, my friends, we simply need a Devolution.
Yes. That's right. A Devolution back to our rule of law. A return to our Constitution, but this time, let's get it right and make sure that everyone of every color, creed and social status enjoys the fruits of liberty. That should include the 25% of the nation who have been deprived of their constitutional rights by this incredibly corrupt system which has created 314,000 ways to deprive us of those freedoms and protections, and given prosecutors the blunt tools by which to always win against us, no matter how ridiculous the charge. A 98.7% conviction rate should be an alarm that justice and fairness no longer exist in our courts.
Every American citizen should have the right to vote, the right to defend, and the rights enumerated in our Constitution, without exception, whether they've been accused/convicted of a crime or not. They're still U.S. citizens, still required to pay taxes, and must still have a say-so in how the country is run. Back to Rule of Law and our ultimate Law of the Land, the United States Constitution.
VIVA LA DEVOLUCION!
Howell W. Woltz, Author
Justice Denied: the United States v. the People, and
The Way Back to America: a 10-step plan to restore the United States to constitutional government
Born in North Carolina and educated at the University of Virginia, Wake Forest University and Caledonian University in Scotland, Howell now lives in Warsaw, Poland with his wife, Dr. Magdalena Iwaniec-Woltz. Howell is the European Correspondent for The Richardson Post and Chairman of The International Centre for Justice.