May 9, 2012

“A Question of Innocence: A True Story of False Accusation” by Lawrence D. Spiegel was published in 1986, but this passage – lamenting plea-bargains by those falsely accused of assaulting children – applies exactly to Little Rascals:

“The innocent often fall prey to the waiting hands of the prosecutor and plead guilty to a lesser charge, just to put an end to the ordeal and to the separation from a child.

“Prosecutors, as a result of over-zealousness to protect the child, blind ambition to further a career or a number of other reasons, will do ‘strange’ things for a conviction. It is always to the prosecutor’s benefit to get a guilty plea, even to a lesser charge. Sometimes the prosecutor will wait until the accused is emotionally and financially drained, then the plea bargain offer is made….

“Some falsely accused are so battered and beaten, they accept the humiliation and anger and take the deal. Often this occurs with the consent of the victim’s attorney…. The stigma of the bargain will remain forever.”