Plea Bargaining: Coercion or Choice?

Alejandra de la Fuente — January 23, 2013 @ 3:09 PM — Comments (16)

When the founding fathers included the sixth amendment in the Bill of Rights, I am sure they never imagined that in this day and age almost 90 percent of defendants in criminal cases would relinquish their constitutional rights and plead guilty. According to the Federal Justice Statistics, less than 5 percent of defendants in criminal cases actually exercised their right to a speedy, public trial with an impartial jury in 2009.

What are plea bargains?
Plea bargains are non-trial procedures where defendants are offered a minimized punishment or charge than they would receive if they proceeded to trial.

“During an arraignment the defendant is faced with the maximum charge or punishment that the defendant will be held to if he or she goes to trial. The prosecutor will present the defendant with an opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser charge or to the original charge with less than the maximum sentence” – Bureau of Justice Assistance

Why are plea bargains offered?
There are many arguments that favor plea bargains; however the argument of cost and time is most prominent and significant. Those in favor conclude the practice saves courts time and money.

Some trials are known to last several months at great cost to the courts and the defendant. The McMartin Preschool trial is known as the longest and most expensive criminal trial in U.S  history. It had a life span of three years and cost the government alone roughly $15 million.

Harvard law professor William Stuntz has noted that “due to docket pressure, prosecutors lack the time to pursue even some winnable cases,” and that “prosecutors in most jurisdictions have more cases than they have time to handle them.”

Opposing Views and The Reality of Plea Bargains and Innocence
Those skeptical of or against plea bargains state it’s a tool used to undermine the sixth amendment and gives too much power to prosecutors. During sentencing, judges are given strict guidelines to follow; however, prosecutors are allowed much more freedom. It has been noted that prosecutors have been found to use threats to pressure defendants into a plea bargains, especially when the evidence is feeble.

Others argue the use of plea bargains in turn punishes defendants who exercise their constitutional right and proceed to a trial. For example, in 1963, Henry Alford was indicted on first degree murder charges. Although he plead guilty to the crime, he was very vocal about his innocence. The plea deal offered him a life sentence in place of capital punishment. Alford stated on many occasions that he was coerced into a confession and plead guilty for the fear of a harsher sentence.

While Alford’s innocence is important, his case raised more significant questions. Does fear constitute coercion and do plea bargains really offer a choice for some defendants? On the other side of the spectrum there are those who argue no one is forced into taking a plea bargain, and it’s a choice the defendant must make.

However, with the options given to defendants, is it really a choice?


The Innocent Defendant’s Dilemma
A college student in Florida was accused of cheating on a logic test being administered as part of a psychological study. She was given two choices. If she confessed to cheating and saved the university time and money of going to trial in front of the Academic Review Board, she would lose her right to compensation for participating in the study. However, if she proceeded to trial and was found guilty, she would lose the compensation, her faculty adviser would be informed and she would be forced to enroll in an ethics course. Although the loss of compensation was a great punishment, it was far better than having to take a time consuming ethics course. Though she was completely innocent, with the options given to her, the student chose to admit to cheating.

What the student didn’t know was she was actually part of a psychological study that attempted to recreate why and how an innocent person might plead guilty. The result’s of The Innocent Defendant’s Dilemma: An Innovative Empirical Study of Plea Bargaining’s Innocence Problem revealed 56 percent of the innocent participants admitted to cheating. Although the punishment and the situations aren’t precise to criminal cases, the study puts into perspective how a persons feels while weighing their options. The study found what most may have predicted, guilty persons are more likely to plead guilty than innocent persons. However, the fact that more than half of the innocent participants admitted guilt is a significant find.

Most innocent students chose to avoid the trial and the consequences that may come of it. For 56 percent of the innocent persons, it was more beneficial to admit to cheating, than being found guilty at trial, even though they didn’t cheat.

This is parallel to the criminal cases. Defendants are “rewarded” for accepting a plea bargains, yet if found guilty are punished for going to trial. One must ask would the founding fathers – who included the Bill of Rights in the constitution as a protective measure against the government – consider this justice, a system that gives criminals the easy way out, and puts innocent people in a tricky predicament.

Share Your Thoughts
Coercion or Choice? Which side are you on?

Special Thanks to Lucian E. Dervan and Vanessa Edkins for allowing us to share their study The Innocent Defendant’s Dilemma: An Innovative Empirical Study of Plea Bargaining’s Innocence Problem.

Lucian E. Dervan and Vanessa A. Edkins, The Innocent Defendant’s Dilemma: An Innovative Empirical Study of Plea Bargaining’s Innocence Problem, 103 Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology – (forthcoming 2013).

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Comments and Pings on “Plea Bargaining: Coercion or Choice?”

  1. I believe its coercion! My son was accused of killing someone even though witnesses said it wasn’t him the prosecutor said if we take the plea he will only do 5 years, but because he said he didn’t do it we went to trial and he got the maximum sentence even though he never had a criminal record. The prosecutor told me and my wife that he knew he didn’t do it, but someone had to account for the body and since our son didn’t want to tell on the person that did it he has to carry the weight. This really showed is that the justice system is a game that people play without having to answer for their actions. We had all the proof to show our sons innocence but since we are not part of the game we got chastised by the people in this so called justice system.

     Fernando Gotay Sr. — January 25, 2013 @ 1:02 pm
  2. Yes i know all to well how the system works.35 years ago in the state on Virginia i plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter when i know it was self defense as the person i shot had fired his weapon and was trying to kill my friend a myself.He shot into a occupied vehicle. my lawyer Max Jenkins explained to me that the person i wiil call him Delmer was going to shoot my friend and not me and i had no right to shoot him and if i went to trial i would get 5 to 15 years in prison.I plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and receive 3 years probation.Lost all my rights .Then found out the commonwealth Attorney and my Attorney were good friends and had sold me out because of the threats my lawyer had told me.I am 100% Disabled Serviced connected Vietnam combat vet and am being treated like a criminal.To restore my rights i need to jump through hoops for the Governor.Not going to happen.I am 69 years old now and it is to late for me to clear my name.By the way they disposed my probation after 1 year .GUILT I suppose on there part.They have made my life hard live at times

     Larry O McCallister — February 1, 2013 @ 11:15 am
  3. The justice system is a complete and utter joke as far as I am concerned. They set the trap for me a few weeks ago. The “STATE” decided to prosecute (persecute) me even though they knew I was innocent. Their “coercive” plea bargain offer: 9 months deferred sentencing with promise of accepting my motion to withdraw my guilty plea and discontinue pursuing criminal charges against me (nolle prosequi). This bargain is contingent upon my reporting weekly to a Community Supervision Officer, taking weekly Drug Tests, submitting to a Mental Evaluation and Mental Counseling (if deemed necessary), attending Anger Management Classes (if deemed necessary after evaluation) and maintaining “Meaningful employment/vocational schooling”.

    My perception of the Justice System and Plea bargaining is based upon past observations and more specifically to my present situation:

    1. If you are willing not to prosecute, obviously the person is not guilty of the crime which you are willing to overlook, so why persecute and cause havoc in the persons life.

    2. Everyone involved in the “official” procedural conduct obviously is in cahoots with each other and operate with deception and downright lies.

    3. Normally the plea bargains are structured in such a way that the accused is set up to fail and the system protects itself by coercing the individual to place on the record that they were not “coerced”. The complete plea bargain system is a system of coercion, i.e.

    My case involved my attorney and I signing a form document, consisting of check marks, a few minutes before the calling of the case. The District Attorney signed the form. Gave the Judge a copy, the Judge then read the agreement requiring me to answer in the affirmative to each point; that no other promises were made, and that I was not coerced or threaten in any manner.

    The DA before submitting the form to the judge deceptively checked, maintain “Meaningful employment/vocational schooling”. I did not agree to that proviso because I have been retired almost 7 years and do not work neither have a desire to return to work or learn a trade. I as the defendant do not have the right to argue in the court, but must speak through my attorney, My attorney and I discussed this when the judge read it. He told if I challenged trial would go forth resulting I my going to jail, “This s a sweet deal”.

    Finding employment is impossible because if I am honest on my application for a job my answer to “Why do you want to work for me?” will be, “I have been ordered to find employment by the court”. “Do you have a criminal record?” Yes, I have a pending sentencing date to a crime that I pleaded guilty.

    I am 62 years old and have been retired for 7 years, now have open criminal case to which I pleaded guilty. In essence, the system set me up to fail and jail me.So you see the system and the Plea Bargain aspect of it is nothing more than a ruse….

    As the other commenter stated,

    “the commonwealth Attorney and my Attorney were good friends and had sold me out because of the threats my lawyer had told me”…

    “the justice system is a game that people play without having to answer for their actions. …. had… proof to show… innocence but since we are not part of the game we got chastised by the people in this so called justice system”

     Kelvin Andrews — July 8, 2013 @ 7:46 am
  4. This is in response to Mr Fernando Gotay if you are going to write your opinion all over the internet at least tell the truth. It was your sons guy that was identified as the gun that shot and killed that young man in his own house. Your son and son in law went to that young mans house to buy drugs. If you tell the truth and stop making it to be the systems fault that your son is in jail that would be the best thing you ever done for your son,. Maybe the problem isn’t the system maybe its your parenting, Instead of always putting blame on others maybe you should have correcting your sons bad habits and maybe he wouldn’t be doing a long time in jail today. And for all that people that are feeding into Mr Gotays bullshit account of his son being jailed you can all go to the Pocono newspaper and bring up the whole case or just goggle Fernando Gotay JR and you will see everything for yourself and see Mr. Gotay has a problem facing reality. from someone that’s been following this case from the day of arrest.

  5. my son had to plea guilty cause he had a child to support and stay working so he got probation (10yrs)so he worked to pay his fines and go to his classes and then they kicked him out and than let him back in then they said he provoked his proba tion so they put him in jail about 6mos and his lawyer wouldn’t fight for him time went by and at the trial he was found guilty so he tried to fire the lawyer and it didn’t work . so now hes been in prison for two yrs still says he is not guilty and they don’t like that (you know) he is at price daniels unit in Snyder texasand im his mother trying to do what I can about all this oor is it to late please help despite mother fighting for her innocent son?

     deborah goodwin — June 3, 2014 @ 2:43 pm
  6. DUI , was there to stop drinking . On the day I finished my 30 day program I was told by the staff that I was being accused of molesting my then 9 or ten year old son . This was a commplete fabrication . My X had told my son to tell his school , the school reported this to the police , When I was told of this I called the the police and asked them to please come to the hospital where I had been for the last month and explain what was going on . Hospital staff told me not to talk to the police and I said why not I haven’t don anything , When the investigating officer showed up , I asked what is all this about ? I was told that there was an incident on one occasion where I had inappropriately touched my sons private parts my reply was I don’t recall that that ever happend . Severial months go by and I am arrested for molesting my son The police report that was put together said that I was a drunk and could not remember anything . This is true , I have no memory of such an ivent because it did not happen . So then its plea bargain time . The puplic defender tells me that this is such a minor thing that if I plead no contest I would most likly get only two days in jail . The other option was go to trial and if covicted I would be sentenced to 8 years in prison . Didn’t know what to do , so I pled no contest and got 40 days in solitary confinement and was relies ed. This all happend prior to Megans law . I am a veteran honorably discharged from the U.S.A.F., with time spent in Vietnam I live in a trailer park in Palo Alto Ca.. The trailer is being sold to developers and I will soon have to move , since Megains Law with all its wisdom is now the law , there is no place for me to move to . I have lived in the same place for the last 18 years and have made frends in this comunity in some way or another I have helped people and been a good neighbor . About two years ago someone put a flyer up in our laundry room about me . My frends and neighbours will no longer speak to me , over time both of my pets have been poisond I’m paranoid as to what will happen next.

     Michael A Helmer — November 6, 2014 @ 12:43 am
  7. My only crime ,and my only lie is ,that I pleaded no contest to something I did not do

     Michael A Helmer — November 6, 2014 @ 12:46 am
  8. Coercion is not even scratching the surface. Coercion, intimidation, will overborne, sleep depervation, hunger, ice cold interrogation room, interrogated for 6 hours using Reid Technique without using any safeguards that were built in. Unfortunetly the detective never took the required course and I was told by one of the head people at the Reid School, it could have caused psychological damage. 37 hoours without sleep, 18 hours without food, 6 hours past due on medication and stopped half way through a sentence and called the part that was spoken, a confession. 1st public defender saw me for 2 hours and 15 minutes in a five month period. Horrible, non nutricional food, loosing 23 pounds, was taken off high blood pressure medication for 6 months, sores on my body, cuticals on fingers turning brown, hair falling out, left with dislocated knee with no treatment or even an exam in 2 1/2 days till I reset my knee myself. Wrong medication, misdiagnosis, of medical problems. death threats from other inmates. Tell a guard and they refuse to move you to another cell. Ask what if that person follows through? The guard replys, O.Well! Live like this for 363 days being innocent. 1st and second public defender won’t give you the information that you want from your file. You are lied to, hardly ever returns phone calls or answers letters. You feel totally abandoned. No money for a good attorney. Told by attorney that they know you are innocent and the prosecution has a very weak case but if a jury is taken in by the lies of the person accusing you, you are looking at 15 to 20 years. You are now 65 years old. This means you will die in jail. My Question to you: If they told you, Even though they know your innocent, if you take a plea deal for Felony Battery, you could go home the next day. What would you do? You know your health is failing. THe first charge wass really bad. Felony life 2 counts on a sexual charge that was a lie. Retrobution. And to dro that to Felony Battery, nosexual charge, no probation, no restrictions, no community service. They knew they screwed up after I ws arrested and someone actually read my case. 3 attorneys that were likd enough to look my case over al said the same thing. I should have never been arrested. That I was railroaded. All the attorneys that I talked to don’t want to take my case because there is not enough money in it for them. And they wonder why people hate them?

     Joe margolis Sr. — December 27, 2014 @ 10:35 am
  9. The prosecutor told my son in the court room at his hearing that he had to plead guilty to both of his cases, which doesn’t have any in filiation with each other or he will take him to court with the one that he already has admitted guilt too and was willing to plea on and give him life sentence if he does not take the plea to the other charge.

  10. In response to Ms. Melissa Baptista you need to get your facts strait! My son was not visiting the robber who died during a gun battle in an apartment that belonged to my sons friend. They were not there to buy drugs and if you ever get the opportunity to read on the case. The young man who died did so while him, his half brother, and friend went to the apartment for a robbery. So for you to accuse anyone of not facing the facts look in the mirror. Get the facts then respond accordingly!! FYI! there were ten witnesses in the apartment during the robbery who can confirm this fact! So reserve your comments for something else that you may have knowledge of!

     Fernando Gotay Sr — February 3, 2015 @ 7:36 pm
  11. I did the worst mistake of my life at the age of 19. I took a plea bargain for Sexual Assault of a Child age 14-17 in Texas. I was 18 at the time of the offense and the female was 15. I knew her from youth group at church and her parents too. I was working two jobs in which one was a graveyard at a hotel where a guy committed suicide at the same night they said I was with her even though I was at work dealing with law enforcement and fire dept for the suicide guest and also did DNA tests from the saliva they recovered from her and the results were “inconclusive” I found out after I took my plea that she has written 3 statements. The first 2 saying she had ran away to her boyfriends and was never with me and the last one saying she had consensual sex with me but since she isn’t 18 it’s not consensual so the police told her to say it was consensual to close the case and nobody would get in trouble as soon as she wrote that and walked away they came and arrested me. The district attorney and my attorney told me I should take the plea bargain of 5 years deferred adjudication probation. District attorney told me if I didn’t and lost at trial he would do his best to make sure I received 20 yrs in prison and not hold my son (who was on the way in the womb of my wife) until he graduated. My attorney said I should take the plea too even knowing that the evidence we had they shouldn’t have made it that far without dismissing it. Told me it was deferred and after 5 years it would be like it never happened and I would go home today with no fear of prison. I completed the probation and it’s now 8 years since I got off probation 13 years since I signed that paper ruining my life and I’m still
    On a registry and it’s effecting my kids lives and I don’t know what to do but I can’t do another 40 years of this. I’m only 35 and never screwed up not even this time just bad situation and made a life changing decision for the worst.

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  13. I’m one of the 5%. Ten minutes before my trial I was offered a deal: Two years, out in a year and a half. Losing at trial meant seven and a half years. I had ten minutes to decide. I took trial. I was found guilty of the lessor charge of simple assault. The judge gave me time served.

    What concerns me most is what my children learned if faced with a similar event. Take the easy way out or fight? I could be sitting in prison right now instead of writing this. A trial can go either way but I knew in my heart I couldn’t plead guilty to something I didn’t do.

    When I was in jail (Sheriff Joe’s 4th Ave) all the other detainees talked about the best deal they could get. I wanted trial. I wanted y day in court and face my accusers. If I’d gone to prison, sad, but at least I never said I did it.

     Don Goins — July 31, 2016 @ 7:29 pm
  14. I’m so brokenhearted reading all these responses of how awful our justice system is. To Don Goins how wonderful that you were strong enough to fight and what a blessing that it worked out in your favor. My son was not that strong and was scared to death, being accused of something he didn’t do and being pressured to make a plea bargain. In May of 2013 he was living with his wife and 10 month old daughter at his Mother in Law’s home while they were saving money to purchase their first home. They had previously lived at his Father in Law’s home that was closer to his work. Most of their belongings were still there in the attic bedroom they had been staying in. My son’s computer had crashed and he was in the process of building a gaming computer as him and his wife were heavily into gaming. He would be at this house daily as his Father in Law’s house was where his wife’s sister lived and she was their babysitter. He would drop his daughter off and then go to work. His Mother in Law loaned him an older model computer so he could set it up to do his banking, searches for computer parts etc. when he would go over there and be there prior to leaving for work. He owned a Laptop at the time which was used at the Mother in Law’s home where they were living then. Well, the Father in Law’s house was busted by the FBI because they were receiving pings for Child Pornography from the location. They had a search warrant for the house, they confiscated all the computers there and all of the phones from all who were there as well. They did not have an arrest warrant for my son. They asked him to go with them. He had never been in any trouble before, and at the time had no idea what the bust was all about. He began to think it might have been the gaming that he was doing as he had illegally downloaded games off the internet. He unfortunately went with them and they questioned him and did a polygraph on him without an attorney present. They started asking him if he was into Child Pornography, he said no, they told him he was lying and kept saying he wasn’t they kept saying he was. He was scared to death. He couldn’t figure out why they kept saying he was lying. He then admitted to looking at teenage girls on his computer back when he was 15 years old, he was now 25 years old. I was aware of the event when he was 15 as I was the one who found teenage girls’ pictures on his computer, he was grounded, his computer was taken away and wiped clean and he attended counseling with his Youth Pastor. After the polygraph they had him sign an electronic signature pad telling him he was signing what they had just went over, he never received a hard copy to look at. They then took him back home. For two years he didn’t hear from anyone. During that time period he got a better job, was doing great, he had just bought a fixer upper home next door to the Father in Law’s house which was convenient for babysitting for their daughter and his wife was pregnant with their second child. All was going well until February of 2015 when an FBI Swat team charges into his place of employment and arrests him in front of everyone! He called me as they were preparing to take him, he was so upset and didn’t know what to do or what was going on, the call dropped as they hung up the phone on him. My family lived in a hell for the next five days as they put him directly into jail. He had no previous record, has never been in trouble before. His wife was a wreck. They live in Ohio, my parents in Maryland and I live in Florida, so this was so hard to deal with being so far from each other. We Skyped and after three days my son was finally able to call his wife and she began to get details. We were all devastated! They were accusing him of possession and distribution of Child Pornography and wanting to put him in prison for 17-20 years! The Child Pornography was not teenage girls it was infants and toddlers! Horrendous stuff that my son swore over and over that he never looked at. The FBI found the stuff on the loaned computer that my son had been using. There was nothing found on anything else in the house, not his phone, nothing else. His wife’s Aunt works for a traffic case attorney and she gets him to help get my son out of prison. He got him out and on house arrest at the Father in Law’s house instead of his own which was right next door and he also put in that his wife would move out of their house with their daughter and live across town at a relatives house. It was ridiculous. They spent all the money they had that was in an escrow account at this attorney’s firm from an accident they had been in recently. The attorney kept telling my son to take a plea bargain of 15 years! My son kept saying he was innocent. He was not allowed to have a smart phone or be on a computer during this time, so my parents and I were doing all the researching we could for him to try to help. His wife was a mess and ended up having a miscarriage. I found out that the attorney he had was not familiar with representing clients in these types of cases. I found an attorney online that was in my son’s area, however he was so expensive we couldn’t afford him. He advised me to have my son get a Public Defender and that he was one of the attorneys on the list and that my son could request him. My son tried to do that and they told him he couldn’t and they gave him a woman attorney who pretty much had him guilty from the start. It was a terrible battle with her. My son was told he couldn’t keep changing his attorneys. The only good thing in the beginning that she did was to get my son’s wife and daughter authorized to move back into their home which helped my granddaughter so much. We found out from the Mother in Law and my son’s wife the the computer with the pornography on it was originally his wife’s uncle’s computer, he was living in Kentucky at the time. The Mother in Law told us that the computer was full of disgusting Child Pornography the last time she was using it at her house. She said the stuff kept coming up and she couldn’t get is to stop or get it to shut down so she unplugged it and put it away. The next person to use the computer was my son, she never told him about this. His wife was also a witness to the stuff that had been on the computer as she was asked to come over to clean the stuff off the computer before and knew the Uncle was into the porn. Problem here is upon questioning of the Mother in Law, she lied and told them that she gave the computer to my son as a gift which transferred ownership to him and because she didn’t accurately know all the dates the FBI wanted they said she wasn’t a good witness. WTH!? So two witnesses saying stuff was already on the computer yet they still don’t believe my son. The attorney refused to allow us to write the truth in Character letters for him and withheld many that he received from Pastors that he knew. She wouldn’t allow anyone to write that my son was a computer person. He was getting ready prior to this happening to go to school to get his A+ Certification so he could get into the field he really wanted to be in and was gifted at, Computers. Thing about this is that my son knows computers, he knew enough that nothing was found anywhere about the games he was downloading. They found a peer to peer program on the computer and many of the videos and pictures with dates prior to my son having the computer. So, the computer 1) Was not his 2) Was not at the house he was living at 3) There are witnesses to the fact that there was porn from someone else already on the computer. The FBI postponed the trial several times, which cost me money each time in flight fees as I was trying to be there for my son. It cost my parents two trips to Ohio because the postponements came right before the trial dates and they had already driven there to be there early. So after another reschedule and a date for May 2016 they decide to pressure him into doing a plea bargain. He calls me the night before all upset and not knowing what to do, I could tell he was crying. They gave him two choices, if he sticks to saying he is innocent and continues with a not guilty plea and goes to trial he would be looking at 17-20 years without parole, but if he chooses guilty he will only do 5 years with the chance of getting out earlier on good behavior. I was in tears as I couldn’t make the decision for him. He kept saying he couldn’t be away from his daughters that long, they were his life. The next day he chose guilty, the trial was cancelled and instead it would be a sentencing hearing. My whole family was again devastated! At this time my parents and I still went to Ohio to spend some time with my son and his family and we were working on his house trying to get things repaired in it as much as we could. It is a fixer upper that they had just moved into prior to the house arrest and my son has been unable to work on it anymore. In Dec 2015 we found out that my son’s wife was pregnant again and due in Aug 2016. The FBI rescheduled his Sentencing hearing to Sept 2016 and as I was preparing to get my flight we found out that the only airline that goes to my son’s area would be closed the whole month of Sept! I would not be able to be there for him. I was a wreck. My son contacted his attorney to ask if they could postpone, one due to my inability to attend and two that his wife was due to have their second daughter just a week prior to the hearing. We requested that it not be scheduled at the end of October due to a prior commitment I had and could not reschedule. They however scheduled it exactly at that time anyway saying the Judge had other things scheduled and that was all he could do. So unfortunately I could not get off of work to go and the hearing was also the day before my mother’s birthday. She was a wreck over that. We all just kept praying. I was a terrible wreck not being able to be there for my only son. I was thankful that my parents were there for him. The Judge only wanted to sentence him to 16 months however the FBI’s prosecutor refused and fought for the mandatory time for distribution which is 5 years. So he received a 5 year sentence, he is now registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life and he is no longer allowed to have a computer or a smartphone! The prosecutor wanted him to be put in a prison in another state away from his family the Judge said no, that he will be local to his family. Th prosecutor wanted him to report to jail on Dec 26th and the Judge said no because of his daughters. He will have to report to a prison 40 minutes form his home on Jan 3rd. His life has been torn apart along with his family. I’m trying just to function on a daily basis at this time praying without ceasing that some how some way this will work out. Praying for mercy over my granddaughters as his oldest daughter who is 4 years old is going to be devastated without her daddy, she is so attached to him. I’m now researching all I can to get him help if it is possible. This is such a nightmare my life and my family’s has be turned upside down since 2013 and our hope for the future is hard to imagine with my son sitting in prison for 5 years and then being on a sex offender registry for the rest of his life something he didn’t do!

     Julie Bennie — November 25, 2016 @ 6:12 am
  15. It is definitely coercion. I am a woman who had a 13 year career at a Fortune 500 company and was attending college for my BAS in Business Supervision & Management when I was falsely accused and incarcerated for Aggravated Assault & Battery on my ex-husband who was attempting to take over my home while my dad was dying of cancer in another city in Florida. I had a DUI attached to the other false charges that my attorney was attempting to win that case due to inconsistencies and presentation of videos that weren’t even of me but of another citizen who was arrested by the police department. I endured ongoing harassment on a daily basis by the police department. One night there were 5 of their cars in front of my driveway and they claimed there was an intruder in my backyard but there was no sign of that. Another night I was walking down the street to the store because my license was suspended and I was told by a female officer to go home. Another night I had a knock on the door but whoever was on the other side was blocking my peephole with their finger. I asked ” Who is it?” They said “It’s Jimmy.” I said “I don’t know a Jimmy.” That was when they replied “Oh I’m sorry it’s the Ormond Beach police department.” I said “Why would you block my peephole? I am a single woman. I will not answer the door if you do that.” They said that they had been sent to my house on a domestic disturbance call. My ex-boyfriend was sitting on my couch in the living room reading a book silently and I was in the bedroom asleep so I don’t get where that came from. Another night I woke up from being asleep in my bed and the police were in my living room. I said “What are you doing in my home?” They replied “Open structure.” Which to them was slamming my ex-boyfriend who had a broken arm on the ground while the outside door was open. If that isn’t coercion I don’t know what is.

     Nicole Gilley — December 22, 2016 @ 8:02 pm
  16. Needless to say due to all of the ongoing harassment I ended up agreeing to a plea bargain because I said it’s not worth enduring this on a weekly basis. I’m done with it.

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