The U.S. criminal justice system affords Americans many rights, but the
system is far from perfect. In the wake of Matthew Martoma's
nine-year prison sentence for insider trading, members of the criminal justice community are shaking their heads in
disapproval. In a recent
Forbes article, one author asked a simple question:
Wanting a jury trial isn't a crime, so why does the court treat it like one? The question stems from a plea bargain that prosecutors offered Martoma.
If Martoma plead guilty, he could shaved trim years off of his sentence.
Forbes said that, had Martoma taken a plea bargain, the sentence reduction would
be a assumed. In short, the court would have granted him a small credit
for accepting responsibility for the crime. But exercising one's right
to a jury trial isn't a crime, so why does the court punish defendants for it?
Some members of the criminal justice community believe that this phenomenon
is controlled by prosecutors, who habitually manipulate sentencing in
federal trials like Martoma's. Plea bargains, in essence, dangle a
reward in front of defendants who plead guilty and reprimand those who
want a fair trial. This system gives considerable power to the prosecutor.
In a recent federal drug case, a man was offered a 16-year prison sentence
plea bargain for weapon possession and marijuana trafficking. If the defendant
refused, he would face an additional 89 years of incarceration, 105 years total.
According to federal law, sentences should not exceed the time needed to
ensure retribution and rehabilitation. If prosecutors believed that 16
years was enough time to accomplish these goals, then how can the court
justify an additional 89 years of incarceration? The answer is clear:
the criminal justice system punishes defendants who want a fair trial.
Sadly, these manipulative negotiations are common, and the ramifications
of excessive sentencing is obvious – overcrowded corrections facilities,
swollen government budgets, etc.
At The Hammer Law Firm, we are committed to helping defendants seek justice
in court. As former prosecutors, attorneys Mark Hammer and Nicole Chiravollatti
know how the prosecution thinks. With this understanding, our firm creates
powerful strategies for each client. To learn more about your legal options
with our law firm,
contact The Hammer Law Firm, LLC today.