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jadedog  ·  1013 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How a $2 roadside drug test sends innocent people to jail

    The attitude you have is the attitude everybody has before they get fucked over by our justice system. The amount of money you have should not determine how well or how long you can fight in court. The entire system is set up to screw over the poor while the rich just spend some money and go on their way.

What attitude is that?

You seem to have overgeneralized my point that you've been replying to by overlaying your friend's case on to this case.

My point was very narrowly that if you know you're innocent on a drug charge and the only evidence is a roadside drug test (under US law), then ask for a lab test to be done. In the US, the Dept. of Justice has determined that roadside drug tests should not be admissible as the only evidence for conviction. If she asked for a drug test and the attorney didn't request one in this case, she might have been able to sue her attorney for negligence when as in this case, it was found that it would have exonerated her.

My point was NOT that people should not accept plea bargains if they're innocent. Both rich and poor people sometimes do that. For instance, wealthy actors who don't want to have their reputation damaged from a trial will sometimes accept a plea bargain instead of roll the dice and go to trial. In many cases, there's no guarantee that going to trial will turn out in their favor.

However, in this particular case, there's no other evidence except a roadside drug test that has been deemed inadmissible as the sole evidence for conviction at a trial. If there was a lab test that corroborated that roadside drug test, that's a different thing. My only point was that if she had known that, she could have gotten a lab test before she made her decision to accept the plea bargain or not.

Overlaying this case with your friend's case is precarious because you're providing a second hand account of what happened in your friend's case. From the glance I took of the Canadian law, a trained technician is required to look at the evidence. In this case, that's not what happened.

As to the rest of your comments about how the justice system should be set up to be more egalitarian, that sounds very idealistic. In capitalist countries (or life in general really), the wealthy often have more advantages. In the US, poor people often can't afford health care, sometimes to the point of death. Wealthy people have access to more resources in general. In a perfect world, that might not be the case, but this case didn't happen in a perfect world.

I don't think the system is set up with the specific intent to disadvantage the poor. If that was the case, there wouldn't be court-appointed attorneys. People who couldn't afford legal representation would be thrown into debtor's prisons, as was done in the past. However, the justice system, like most other systems, isn't immune to economic disparity either.

I also don't believe that society (or even rich people) benefits by an innocent person (rich or poor) being wrongfully convicted. If the person goes to prison, taxpayers have to pay for their incarceration, and there's one less productive person in the workforce.

That the system might work differently for rich people and poor people doesn't mean that it was set up with the intention "to screw over" poor people. That the system doesn't work perfectly also doesn't mean that it was set up to punish people unfairly.