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Tags Alford pleas , plea deals , rape cases

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Old 10th August 2018, 07:11 PM   #1
Ranb
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Accused rapist will not serve time; Alford plea

https://www.richmond.com/news/virgin...33a2f961e.html
Quote:
Baril’s initial charges of felony rape and felony sodomy were reduced to misdemeanor sexual battery and felony unlawful wounding, respectively.

The maximum prison sentence Baril could have faced was five years, all of which Judge Humes J. Franklin suspended. Baril, 21, will be on supervised probation for five years and is not allowed to have any contact with the victim or key witnesses.

If the case had gone to trial with the initial charges, Baril would have faced a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years.
The underlined is no surprise, I suppose.

Quote:
She said that after 17 months, she has rebuilt her life and that she agreed to a plea deal because she did not want to endure a trial and relive the trauma.
Since I've never been assaulted, I can't say that she is wrong for agreeing to a plea deal.

Quote:
The judge accepted the plea agreement, which he deemed to be a fair compromise, in part because neither party was happy with it.
I wonder how much a judge hears from anyone other than the lawyers when they approve a deal like this.

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Old 10th August 2018, 11:12 PM   #2
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This is an interesting case alright. Does it serve to remind us that the law is an ass?
I have a liberal mind, and am trying to figure if the stress of this case is punishment enough to persuade this tom cat to respect women's wishes.

Rape and sodomy? There must be more to this story, I thought that would allow the state to lay charges.

Last edited by Samson; 10th August 2018 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 10th August 2018, 11:20 PM   #3
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How can there be a plea deal over a crime like rape?

In cases like this the feelings of the victim must take second place to justice, as I’m certain is the case in most jurisdictions.
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Old 10th August 2018, 11:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
This is an interesting case alright. Does it serve to remind us that the law is an ass?
I have a liberal mind, and am trying to figure if the stress of this case is punishment enough to persuade this tom cat to respect women's wishes.
It’s not your liberal mind, it’s your lack of understanding of criminal justice.
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Old 10th August 2018, 11:56 PM   #5
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Sometimes I think we should just get rid of plea deals entirely. They motivate the innocent to forgo their right to a trial and allow the guilty to escape the full extent of punishment that we, as a society, have determined is their due.

Neither outcome seems particularly positive to me.

They do save the state the expense of a trial, I suppose.
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Old 10th August 2018, 11:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post

They do save the state the expense of a trial, I suppose.
This is a consideration without doubt, but with certain crimes, like rape, cost shouldn’t be an issue.
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Old 11th August 2018, 08:44 AM   #7
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more on the story

Here is a link to another story on this case.
"She said as Baril forced himself on her, she called out for help.

In cross examination, [Detective] Wright-Settle said she interviewed Baril’s roommates who were reportedly home, and none of them could attest to hearing someone call for help that night."
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Old 11th August 2018, 09:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
451: Unavailable due to legal reasons
We recognize you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore access cannot be granted at this time. For any issues, contact content@richmond.com or call 804-649-6000.
Bah.
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Old 11th August 2018, 01:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by p0lka View Post
Bah.
Here is the chief substance of the article since it seems important for the thread to progress....

"Charlottesville police Detective Regine Wright-Settle testified that between late January 31 and early February 1, M.H. said Baril met up with her at Coupe’s, a popular bar on the Corner, and bought her a drink. She left with Baril, whom she met during a mixer between her sorority and his fraternity, with the intention of him walking her to her nearby apartment.

As she and Baril were walking from Coupe’s to her place, the young woman told Wright-Settle that Baril playfully picked her up and redirected her to his apartment. When they got there, she immediately asked to use the restroom, and when she emerged, the Richmond native was standing in nothing but his underwear.

Defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana asked the detective to show a surveillance video of the two walking down University Avenue and Wertland Street, which never shows Baril pick her up. When the lawyer noted that her account didn’t match the footage, the woman who brought the charges erupted in tears, turned to the person on her right in disbelief, and crying, she dashed for the door. A deputy followed her out.

Wright-Settle read a series of text messages from that night, in which Baril texted the young woman after the reported rape: “Sorry for being over excited,” and “ I hope you’re not mad at me. Let me know if I was being stupid.”

The next morning, he allegedly texted, “Haha. My head hurts,” and asked if she was on “the pill.”

To that, M.H. replied that it doesn’t matter because she “stopped [him],” and said it was a bad decision. Baril replied, “What was a bad decision? I hope you had fun. I did.”

According to the detective, the accuser told her that going to Baril’s apartment was the “bad decision” she was referring to, and that she told him to stop several times. She said as Baril forced himself on her, she called out for help.

In cross examination, Wright-Settle said she interviewed Baril’s roommates who were reportedly home, and none of them could attest to hearing someone call for help that night.

Defense attorney Quagliana, who also noted that the two appeared to be walking arm-in-arm and hand-in-hand in the video, said after the alleged incident, when M.H. was seen on video walking alone to her own apartment, she looked “neatly dressed” and her hair wasn’t messy."

Last edited by Samson; 11th August 2018 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 11th August 2018, 02:10 PM   #10
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I suppose it might be hard to get a conviction with those details. To me though, the texts make it sound like he at least tried to rape her, even if he doesn't see it that way.

edit: I shouldn't actually have said tried. It sounds like he raped her, but not to "completion". A similar thing once happened to me. I was about to hook up with a girl, realized at the last minute I didn't have a condom, and then said we couldn't have sex. Then while slowly drifting toward sleep she mounted me bareback, technically raping me. However I told her to stop, and she did. I've never felt like this was really a rape rape, but that is just my feelings, I can certainly imagine it being a bigger deal to someone else.

Last edited by Fizil; 11th August 2018 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 11th August 2018, 02:13 PM   #11
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Samson, are you saying that it was not rape? Or possibly “proper rape”? Because otherwise I can’t see the point of the post and certainly don’t see it’s importance.

Look up case law on rape.
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Old 11th August 2018, 02:36 PM   #12
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It's disappointing as a lawyer, but it really doesn't matter what did or did not happen. All that matters is what I can prove.

The defense in this case had a lot to work with. I don't blame the prosecution for pleading it out - especially since they seem to have had a reluctant witness.
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Old 11th August 2018, 02:46 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Samson, are you saying that it was not rape? Or possibly “proper rape”? Because otherwise I can’t see the point of the post and certainly don’t see it’s importance.

Look up case law on rape.
No I was not saying that, the article was unavailable to pOlka, and it expands on the defence point Chris quoted. It may be closer to the recent English case, it may not.
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Old 11th August 2018, 03:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
It's disappointing as a lawyer, but it really doesn't matter what did or did not happen. All that matters is what I can prove.

The defense in this case had a lot to work with. I don't blame the prosecution for pleading it out - especially since they seem to have had a reluctant witness.
Do you think, like me, that certain charges should never be allowed to be plea bargained?
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Old 11th August 2018, 04:54 PM   #15
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If the state is not allowed to accept a plea bargain, the only other realistic options might be dropping the case or an acquittal.
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Old 11th August 2018, 06:23 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Do you think, like me, that certain charges should never be allowed to be plea bargained?

No. And I think this is a good case for the argument in favor of plea bargains. From what I've read, if this case had gone to trial the prosecution would have lost.

The only way to argue that plea bargains should sometimes be disallowed is to accept as true that the defendant is actually guilty of the highest charged crime. And that's exactly backwards.

I do think that defendants need more protection from prosecutors, especially when there is DNA evidence that has yet to be analyzed. We need better funding for public defenders and a huge push to process the backlog of rape kits and other forensic tests.
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Old 11th August 2018, 06:24 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Ranb View Post
If the state is not allowed to accept a plea bargain, the only other realistic options might be dropping the case or an acquittal.
Or putting it before a jury. The guy was charged. Unless there is evidence of illegal behaviour by the police (and there's no suggestion of that here), there are some grounds for prosecution.

I think prosecutors in the US (and DPPs in Australia) are sometimes too quick to take the easy, cheaper way out.

Not about this case, but relevant to the point I'm making, there is a high profile case in Australia which is subject of an insanely popular podcast (Teachers Pet) where two coroners have recommended a murder prosecution with the evidence seemingly overwhelming. The accused is still free because the DPP doubted a conviction. This should not happen. Let the jury decide, not a prosecutor.
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Old 11th August 2018, 09:32 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Or putting it before a jury. The guy was charged. Unless there is evidence of illegal behaviour by the police (and there's no suggestion of that here), there are some grounds for prosecution.

I think prosecutors in the US (and DPPs in Australia) are sometimes too quick to take the easy, cheaper way out.

Not about this case, but relevant to the point I'm making, there is a high profile case in Australia which is subject of an insanely popular podcast (Teachers Pet) where two coroners have recommended a murder prosecution with the evidence seemingly overwhelming. The accused is still free because the DPP doubted a conviction. This should not happen. Let the jury decide, not a prosecutor.
That's why in the US we have grand juries. They decide whether to greenlight a proposed prosecution or not.
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Old 11th August 2018, 09:44 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
That's why in the US we have grand juries. They decide whether to greenlight a proposed prosecution or not.
Okay. I know about grand juries, but didn’t factor them into this debate.
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Old 14th August 2018, 04:27 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Or putting it before a jury. The guy was charged. Unless there is evidence of illegal behaviour by the police (and there's no suggestion of that here), there are some grounds for prosecution.

I think prosecutors in the US (and DPPs in Australia) are sometimes too quick to take the easy, cheaper way out.

Not about this case, but relevant to the point I'm making, there is a high profile case in Australia which is subject of an insanely popular podcast (Teachers Pet) where two coroners have recommended a murder prosecution with the evidence seemingly overwhelming. The accused is still free because the DPP doubted a conviction. This should not happen. Let the jury decide, not a prosecutor.
Having grounds to make an arrest doesn't mean that you have a case that is solid enough to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Is it better to get someone to plead out to a lesser charge, or lose in front of a Jury?

In the case you talk about, it seems better to me that when you know you don't have a strong enough case to get a conviction, it is better to allow the person more freedom as you get more evidence, than to go to court and have them found not guilty.

We have had a number of cases in recent years where new evidence has arisen, or a witness has finally decided to come forward years after the crime occurred, and the police have managed to use the new evidence to secure a guilty verdict, whereas had they proceeded at the time of the case, the perpetrator would have been found Not Guilty and have gotten away from the offence.
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Old 15th August 2018, 04:07 AM   #21
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The general tone of the conversation seems to be that he was guilty and that it's a shame that he was able to plea bargain his way out of being convicted.

Is there no consideration that he was not guilty and that he took the plea bargain to avoid the risk of being incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit?
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Old 15th August 2018, 04:09 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
The general tone of the conversation seems to be that he was guilty and that it's a shame that he was able to plea bargain his way out of being convicted.

Is there no consideration that he was not guilty and that he took the plea bargain to avoid the risk of being incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit?
Chris Halkides certainly pointed to the evidence that no other dweller heard her cry out.
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Old 15th August 2018, 04:40 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
Chris Halkides certainly pointed to the evidence that no other dweller heard her cry out.


The, extremely limited, information I have taken, just from reading this thread seems to at least not rule out the possibility that this was a case of regret rather than rape. That said, I am not in full possession of the facts in the slightest.
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Old 15th August 2018, 04:41 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
The general tone of the conversation seems to be that he was guilty and that it's a shame that he was able to plea bargain his way out of being convicted.

Is there no consideration that he was not guilty and that he took the plea bargain to avoid the risk of being incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit?
From the link in the OP.
Quote:
As a part of the Alford plea — which is used when a defendant acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict, while maintaining innocence — Baril’s initial charges of felony rape and felony sodomy were reduced to misdemeanor sexual battery and felony unlawful wounding, respectively.
I'm not sure why an Alford plea is an option.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alford_plea

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Old 15th August 2018, 05:03 AM   #25
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Plea bargains ought to be eliminated altogether. Way too much gamesmanship occurs for a these kinds of deals to be considered any kind of justice. The vast majority (94-97%) of cases do not go to trial, but end in plea bargains. Being judged by a jury of our peers, a supposed cornerstone of our legal system, is an aberration to the current justice system.

You don't have to be particularly creative to imagine situations where it would be more wise for an innocent person to plea guilty to a lesser charge than risk a far greater charge in a full trial. Prosecutors can stack charges and coerce defendants with the risk of years of jail time to accept these pleas. It certainly allows the court system to run more smoothly, but is antithetical to the presumption of evidence and the prosecutor's burden of proof.

Some of the lovely features of the plea bargain system:

1) "Wobblers": Many crimes can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors at the discretion of the prosecutor. Threatening the defendant with a felony in order for them to plea to a misdemeanor is very common. Easy to game that one out, just plea regardless of guilt.

2) Unable to make bail: Poor defendants unable to make cash bail have a very strong incentive to plea, even if it is likely they could win their case. Making a plea that might result in walking out of jail the same day with a time served/probation misdemeanor is preferable than waiting months or years in jail to be found innocent. You don't get that time in jail back.

3) Exculpatory evidence: There is no requirement for exculpatory evidence to be turned over prior to a trial. Prosecutors can makes pleas while withholding evidence that weakens their own position. Frankly, this is outrageous.

Plea bargains are an abomination to justice.
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Old 15th August 2018, 05:05 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
Having grounds to make an arrest doesn't mean that you have a case that is solid enough to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Is it better to get someone to plead out to a lesser charge, or lose in front of a Jury?
If they lose in front of a jury, the person should go free, that's the way the system is designed.

Trying to get around that so that when there's not enough evidence to convict they can still put the person behind bars is just a way to lower the bar for a conviction. There will always be both false positives (innocent people who are convicted) and false negatives (guilty people who go free), but the system has an inherent balance between those two that we as a society have agreed upon. Plea deals also allow prosecutors to shift that balance away from false negatives at the expense of false positives.

Of course they don't only do that, or the plea deals wouldn't be accepted. But as I said earlier in this thread all of the shifts they make seem to be shifts away from what we as a society have determined to be the just outcome: lower penalties for the guilty, for instance.

They do allow those innocents who would have been falsely convicted to be convicted of lesser charges. That, and the lowered rate of false negatives are both positive outcomes.

The outcome of any particular plea deal thus isn't bad by definition, but the process by which those decisions are made seems to me to happen outside of the open system of justice that I see as ideal for our society.
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Old 15th August 2018, 05:16 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
How can there be a plea deal over a crime like rape?
Because we simply do not give the justice system the resources to take even 10% of all cases to trial. So they need to plea out most cases because there is no budget to have a full trial on all of them.
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Old 15th August 2018, 05:19 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
This is a consideration without doubt, but with certain crimes, like rape, cost shouldn’t be an issue.
Please if that was the case we would actually have the budget to even test all rape kits. There is a multi year backlog of those in most jurisdictions. Rape just isn't important enough to prosecutors to rate the expense.

And people wonder why so few victims go to the police.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.a45e3ade934d

"The results of this haphazard system have been well documented. In New York City, an estimated 17,000 kits went untested. In Houston, there were 6,000. In Detroit, Los Angeles and Memphis, there were more than 11,000 each. Over the past two decades, the “rape kit backlog” has been in the news so many times that now, slowly, the problem is being fixed across the country. Under pressure from activists and legislators, states and cities big and small are counting their kits and sending them to be tested. And then, they are beginning to quietly struggle with a far more complicated challenge: What happens once the kits come back?"
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Old 15th August 2018, 05:23 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
That's why in the US we have grand juries. They decide whether to greenlight a proposed prosecution or not.
Not exactly, grand juries(at least in NY) are generally a check on the prosecutor that they have at least a half way convincing case. They can in no way force a prosecutor to bring charges if they are reluctant. The prosecutor has to ask the grand jury for the charges.
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Old 15th August 2018, 05:55 AM   #30
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surveillance footage

Originally Posted by Samson View Post
Chris Halkides certainly pointed to the evidence that no other dweller heard her cry out.
The other problem for the prosecution was the security footage that did not tally with the accuser's account. IIRC the same link mentioned this. More information from both the accuser's and the defendant's texts might be helpful.
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