Michael: No More Plea BargainsThere is an initiative application pending that would end all plea bargaining in Arizona's criminal justice system. That would mean instead of just a handful of cases in every 100 going to trial, they would all go to trial. Superficially this might sound good for the law and order voter, but the result would be complete anarchy and the collapse of the criminal justice system as we know it. Pretty much every lawyer in the state would have to be hired just to handle the criminal caseload this would create.
Here is the application:
No More Plea Bargains
February 8, 2005 - July 6, 2006
122,612 signatures required
Joel K. Barr 180015
SMU 1 P.O. Box 4000
Florence, AZ 85232
"The purpose of the NO MORE PLEA BARGAINS initiative is to ensure the guilty do not avoid appropriate mandatory sentences by pleading guilty to lesser crimes; and innocent people are no longer coerced into signing false confessions. False confessions harm the innocent, protect the guilty, insult victims, defeat the purpose of mandatory sentencing, and defraud taxpayers. The text of the NO MORE PLEA BARGAINS initiative is as follows: "Every person accused of violating any law of the State of Arizona shall stand trial on every charge. No information, complaint, or indictment may be withdrawn or dismissed prior to its trial."
Now if Mr. Barr's address looks a little funny, that's because he's in prison in Florence. In fact, he's in the Special Management Unit: the supermax facility. If his application description sounds a little pissed, it's probably because he's speaking from personal experience. I don't have any knowledge of Mr. Barr's case, maybe he really was innocent. I suppose if anyone has an interest in bringing the state's criminal justice system to its knees, it would be Mr. Barr.
I support the Initiative system. I also support the political reinfranchisement of prisoners after their sentence has been served. But I don't support Mr. Barr's plan to kneecap the state from his jail cell. If you ever see a petition for this dog being circulated, which I doubt will ever happen, you might want to make sure you are in a well-lit place and have a tight hold on to your wallet, the circulator may be personally familiar with the digs at the Florence SMU.