When even anti-Trumper George Will writes, and the anti-Trump Washington Post publishes an article that has problems with this, well…………
Michael Flynn, who was President Trump’s national security adviser for 24 days and who has been entangled in the criminal-justice system for 40 months, pleaded guilty of lying to FBI agents and now recants that plea. We shall return to Flynn below, but first consider Habeeb Audu, who is resisting extradition from Britain to the United States, where he is charged with various financial crimes.
The Cato Institute’s Clark Neily was asked by Audu’s lawyers to write, in accordance with British extradition practices, a Declaration — an “expert report” — about the risk that Audu would not have a meaningful right to a fair U.S. trial. Neily, a member of the American Bar Association’s Plea Bargaining Task Force and head of its subcommittee on impermissibly coercive plea bargains and plea practices, concludes that extradition would “guarantee” Audu’s subjection to a process that “routinely” coerces through plea bargaining. So Audu probably would experience “intolerable pressure designed to induce a waiver of his fundamental right to a fair trial.”
Plea bargaining is, Neily argues “pervasive and coercive” partly because of today’s “trial penalty” — the difference between the sentences offered to those who plead guilty and the much more severe sentences typically imposed after a trial. This penalty discourages exercising a constitutional right. A defendant in a computer hacking case, Neily says committed suicide during plea bargaining in which prosecutors said he could avoid a trial conviction and sentence of up to 35 years by pleading guilty and accepting a six-month sentence.