Readers React: Does plea bargaining send innocent people to prison?

A condemned inmate is led out of his east block cell on death row at California's San Quentin State Prison in 2016.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

To the editor: Thanks to John Grisham and the Innocence Project for explaining some of the reasons innocent people end up in prison. (“Eight reasons for America’s shameful number of wrongful convictions,” March 11)

I’d like to add one he missed: Most cases never go to trial. Rather, they’re plea bargained, sometimes starting with deliberately inflated charges. The idea is to move cases through the system as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

When that means scaring some poor schlub into accepting a five-year sentence so he doesn’t get the book thrown at him, we shouldn’t be surprised if he’s innocent — and the system is guilty.

David Ewing, Venice


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