Consider the following link for a breakdown analysis of the disposition of all felonies filed in every Washington State Superior Court since 2006.
As you can see, a small fraction of 1% of all felony filings result in acquittals, without regard to whether they end up bench or jury trials. .
Around 80% of those charged plead guilty. So justice is being served a filet-mignon or are we tossing the baby out with the bathwater? The tiny portion of acquittals suggests either our prosecutors and police detectives are god damned geniuses at ferreting out the culprits or our justice system has an insidious persistent problem. Prosecutors routinely inflate/invent charges to provoke fear/panic and precipitate baseless guilty pleas to lesser offenses.
Most judges have never met a cop they didn’t like and too many jurors think one ought to convict if the defendant PROBABLY did it! The beyond reasonable doubt standard suffers an agonizing death in the bargain. Save your probability speculation for civil proceedings, not criminal where life and liberty hang in the balance. Better yet, recall democracy has a place, even when the monarchists hide in the judiciary. If you, as a juror, believe the law itself is unjust or is being applied unfairly, ACQUIT! The judge will punish any attorney who even hints at the fact jury nullification is perfectly legal–sometimes necessary to curb tyranny. It may have been Ben Franklin who said, “When the people are afraid of the government, that’s tyranny. When the government is afraid of the people, that’s liberty!” Right on, Ben.
Today, RCW 9A.76.180 makes it a class B felony to threaten or intimidate a public official. Unfortunately, no parallel law makes it a felony for public officials to threaten/intimidate a citizen. Go to court on any random day to watch the judge presiding over the criminal calendar swap spit with the deputy prosecutors while directing pro se defendants to remain practically beyond earshot and excluded from the calendar scheduling fraternization resulting in trial dates, briefing schedules, and omnibus hearings. Even defense attorneys are generally accorded respect in this regard. But woe to the pro se litigant who judges consider pesky interlopers in their mini-kingdom. These overseers of human misery, much undeserved, are more concerned about maintaining tight control over their courtroom, scheduling, and docket than they are about ensuring justice is available to the pro se defendant or meaningful access to the courts and due process. Lots of lip service will be handed out extolling these virtues, but common sense and their actions belie this hypocrisy.
Most of the public who’ve advanced much beyond puberty know what cesspools the judiciary has become, but like belling the cat, few are willing to do anything about it. These sinecured apparatchiks exhibit annoyance with citizens too poor to hire lawyers who advocate they should spend every dime they can lay their hands on toward (who else) the very professional services the attorney offers with little or no meaningful oversight/accountability.
Reform? Some would argue it’s much too late for that. The 3rd branch of our government is essentially anti-democratic and in need of a revolution, not a patch job. Absolute judicial immunity, sovereign immunity, and qualified immunity are all intended to put any accountability that might otherwise be levied against these brazen oligarchs beyond the reach of average citizens. In contemplation of the Arab spring and Occupy movements, all oppressed people, especially those who live in the belly of the beast, must rise up–you have nothing left to lose but your chains!
“If we don’t exercise our rights, we will lose them.” -David Sohappy-