Citizens Mistrust Of Govt, Causes Angst At Plea Bargain Idea..

With seri­ous crimes at an all-time high and cit­i­zens clam­or­ing for answers, the Government is under tremen­dous pres­sure from both the Opposition and civ­il soci­ety to come up with solu­tions.
The Government while in Opposition did promise that if elect­ed to office Jamaicans would be able to sleep with their doors open.

I sup­port­ed this Administration’s push for elec­tive office because of the inept­ness and cor­rup­tion with­in the rul­ing PNP. I was nev­er delud­ed into think­ing that if the JLP was elect­ed to office the coun­try would go from over 1200 homi­cides annu­al­ly to peo­ple being able to sleep with their doors open.
Neither did I think that if elect­ed the JLP would be this inept on crime and con­cil­ia­to­ry to lob­by groups which are par­tial­ly dri­ving crime on the Island.

This Government’s absolute weak­ness and unwill­ing­ness to empow­er the secu­ri­ty forces has been a green light of acqui­es­cence to Gangland to con­tin­ue with their activ­i­ties.
They have ele­vat­ed their activ­i­ties to nev­er before seen lev­els al-la Montego Bay which is now a ver­i­ta­ble war zone.

Canterbury thug laid out by oth­er thugs, now all hell has bro­ken loose, the gov­ern­ment sees noth­ing wrong with whats hap­pen­ing seem­ing­ly.

I thought that the JLP could in no way be worse than the PNP on the sin­gu­lar issue of crime, the jury is still out on that thought.
If one under­stand how soci­eties work then one begins to grasp why the issue of crime has been such a focus of mine.
If we fix our crime prob­lem we begin the process of fix­ing our eco­nom­ic and social ills, it is imper­a­tive there­fore that we invest the appro­pri­ate ener­gy and resources into ensur­ing that we have a cred­i­ble jus­tice sys­tem and a coun­try built on the rule of law.
All things which enrich peo­ple’s lives are derived from those prin­ci­ples.

The Opposition PNP has zero cred­i­bil­i­ty on the issue of crime, it has been in pow­er for much longer peri­ods of time than the gov­ern­ing JLP and has, in fact, presided over much of the decline in our coun­try, finan­cial­ly, moral­ly, eth­i­cal­ly and as it relates to the nation’s secu­ri­ty.
The Government has now embarked on uti­liz­ing the plea-bar­gain mech­a­nism as one of the tools in the deliv­ery of jus­tice, not a ground­break­ing move by any stretch but wor­thy nonethe­less.

Many peo­ple are upset about this move as they see it as yet anoth­er attempt by the sys­tem to allow the guilty to go free with a slap on the wrist.
This is not an unrea­son­able fear to have con­sid­er­ing that the courts have been will­ing and active co-con­spir­a­tors in the Island’s incred­i­ble crime rate.
The courts con­tin­ue to grant bail to defen­dants who have been charged with mur­der over and over and over, in some cas­es up to five or more times before they are required to answer the first mur­der charge.
Killing, receiv­ing bail and knock­ing off wit­ness­es in the case is the favorite course for the Island’s killers, the courts are all too will­ing to oblige.


In seek­ing to assuage those fears, the Island’s jus­tice Minister Delroy Chuck told local media “The pub­lic at large must appre­ci­ate that, when you offer a less­er sen­tence, it’s not being weak on crime but you have to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the strength of your case going for­ward,” the min­is­ter insist­ed.
“On the face of it, it may seem pre­pos­ter­ous or repug­nant that you’re giv­ing a non-cus­to­di­al to a per­son who is charged with a seri­ous crime, but if the evi­dence is unavail­able, which means the man will go total­ly free, it might be in the inter­est of jus­tice for him to plead guilty and get a sen­tence to com­plete the file.”

I’m unsure why a case would be on the dock­et for any peri­od of time with­out case com­ple­tion but that’s a ques­tion for a dif­fer­ent day.
It’s remark­able how a total­ly rea­son­able sound­ing posi­tion can become a bit­ter taste in one’s mouth because of the char­ac­ter of the mes­sen­ger.
Much of what Chuck had to say are sim­ply com­mon sense issues which can be fixed with greater super­vi­sion of the peo­ple who han­dle the cas­es from inves­ti­ga­tors to pros­e­cut­ing attor­neys.
There is noth­ing ground­break­ing in his state­ments, how­ev­er, this is the very same Delroy Chuck who wants cas­es over five (5) years old tossed from court dock­ets (includ­ing mur­der cas­es) as a sup­posed path to clean­ing up those same dock­ets.
To the casu­al observ­er, those demands seem like a some­what rea­son­able posi­tion to take if you exclude the mur­der cas­es from the equa­tion.

What is impor­tant is for the cas­es to be com­plet­ed, and it seems to me that the best way to ensure that is the pros­e­cu­tion in all the cas­es now on tri­al should make it a point of duty to start a for­mal nego­ti­a­tion – maybe a writ­ten let­ter to the accused’s attor­ney and hope that a response comes back from the attor­ney to say they have dis­cussed it with their client (and) they are reject­ing the offer, or they are pre­pared to go into a nego­ti­a­tion.”Said Chuck.

Nonsense, those pro­ce­dures should be cod­i­fied in law not left up to let­ter writ­ing in this day and age, with a hope that some­one will reply in order for an agree­ment to be reached on an issue as impor­tant as a plea deal.
The best approach is to have those pro­ce­dures cod­i­fied, it should be on the table for all cas­es (unless oth­er­wise spec­i­fied in law).
Since the death penal­ty is no longer on the table mur­der accused should be giv­en the option to take a plea for life with the pos­si­bil­i­ty of parole as against with­out the pos­si­bil­i­ty of parole.
It is because of the tar­di­ness and lack of seri­ous­ness in the penal­ties why cit­i­zens are incensed about this pro­ce­dure.

A clos­er look reveals that it is usu­al­ly defense attor­neys who cause some of the delays because they have not been paid for their ser­vices, or sim­ply because they under­stand the sys­tem and know full well that drag­ging cas­es out will end in a non-pros­e­cu­tion for their clients.
So in essence, were the coun­try to take Delroy Chuck’s path it would be reward­ing mur­der­ers and adding legit­i­ma­cy to those prac­tices which were start­ed by defense attor­neys.

It’s impor­tant to pay atten­tion to what some defen­dants said: ” we can buss di case”.
That trans­late into there are ways to beat being held account­able in the sys­tem, so there is no need for them to take a plea.
We have the tail wag­ging the dog in Jamaica and things are not about to get bet­ter.
The rea­son behind Jamaica’s two polit­i­cal par­ties reluc­tance to stand against crim­i­nal­i­ty is an open ques­tion.