A recent investigative report conducted by Caleigh Bourgeois of ABC 57
News sought to uncover the answer to an interesting question: how are
so few criminal cases actually going to trial? While it may seem like
trials happen frequently, the investigation uncovered that less than 2%
of all charged criminals actually bring their case to trial and less than
1% went to a full jury trial. These numbers are staggering when you consider
that a right to a speedy trial in the event of criminal accusations as
well as a maintained right to a jury trial are part of the U.S. Constitution.
Attorney Stan Wruble was quoted in this study, thanks to his position as
a criminal defense attorney in South Bend. Mr. Wruble says so many cases
are resolved outside of trial because of the immense strain additional
trials would place on existing justice department resources. “The
system would break down if every person exercised their right to a trial,”
he said. “We don’t have enough judges, we don’t have
enough jurors, probably. We don’t have enough courtroom space for
everyone who is charged with a crime to go to trial.”
As a result, prosecutors frequently seek to make plea bargains outside
of court in order to avoid the need to obtain a full jury trial. A plea
bargain usually involves an accused individual accepting a lesser sentence
in exchange for pleading guilty to charges, which are also sometimes downgraded.
This may be one of the reasons that fewer than seven percent of
felony criminal charges went to trial in St. Joseph County last year.
Ken Cotter is a prosecutor in St. Joseph County, and he says he and other
prosecutors come to hundreds of plea agreements with defense attorneys
every year. Saving resources is one reason for the extensive number of
agreements, but there are other reasons as well.
“For example, in a molestation when the father of ‘Johnny’
had been molested, having to have to go into court and have to say those
things in front of not only the strangers but in front of their father,
that’s hard to do,” Cotter said. In an instance like this,
the plea bargain prevents the victim from having to face the incident
again, allowing them to improve their quality of life while still allowing
them to obtain justice.
This also benefits the suspect by reducing penalties while still de-incentivizing
people from committing crimes. “There is still that incentive for
a person to not commit a crime in the future. But why would we want to
waste the court’s resources and the judge, because we only have
four criminal judges?” said Cotter.
What If I’m Innocent?
Our justice system is designed to help those who have been wronged obtain
the justice they deserve by penalizing those who have wronged them. However,
what happens when someone is unjustly accused? Hundreds of innocent individuals
are jailed every year, and South Bend criminal defense attorneys like
Stan Wruble of Wruble Law Group make it their priority to help them avoid
Wruble believes that one group of individuals should
always take their case to trial: innocent individuals. He says that if a client
tells him they are facing charges of which they are entirely innocent,
he always tells them to prepare to take their case to trial. “If
a client tells me they are not guilty but they want to plead anyway, to
something they didn’t do, I tell them they need to find another
lawyer,” he said.
If you are facing criminal charges and need representation assistance,
Attorney Stan Wruble of the
Wruble Law Group is ready and willing to fight for rights. Attorney Wruble understands
the stress and emotional turmoil you are experiencing when facing criminal
charges, and he believes everyone deserves a powerful ally on their side
through every step of their case. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Wruble
has knowledge and experience of how your prosecution will present your
case, and can work to counter it and put the evidence to work for you.
Call Wruble Law Group today at 574.281.0142 to request a
case evaluation and start fighting back against your charges!