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Should You Take a Plea if You're Innocent?

Posted by Sheridan England | Nov 25, 2023 | 0 Comments

No.  Or maybe.  We don't want to see any innocent person take a plea.  But sometimes people do and it's heartbreaking.

Everyday we hear stories about people who have been exonerated for rape or murder.  The story is often the same:  a person spends decades in jail only to find out that someone else did it.  The greatest movie about an innocent man going free in our opinion is the SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.  If you haven't seen it, stop what you're doing and watch it.

But this is just a movie.  Most exonerates get out of jail through a long and protracted legal process.  You never see that part of things.   You see the press  press conference about how the innocent man is not bitter and how they don't know how to use a smart phone.

But how do these things happen in real life?  

Consider the story of Leroy Spruill.  According to this REPORT, Spruill had to agree to drop his plea of innocence in what is known as an Alford Plea in order for the prosecution to agree to let him go.  We'll write more about Alford Pleas another time, but basically these are pleas where you say you're innocent but that you agree that the prosecution has enough evidence to convict you.

What's the practical effect of an Alford Plea in a case like this? Mr. Spruill got to go free, but he basically had give up any right to prove he was actually innocent.  Some states pay money to people who were wrongly convicted.  People who take pleas can't get that money.

We don't blame Spruill for taking the Alford Plea.  If you're facing serious charges, call us so we can fight to make sure you're not in the same situation Spruill was in.

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