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  1. #1
    DuffMan's Avatar
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    Can somebody explain what the point of an Alford Plea is.

    I've seen this term come up a few times lately when I read about cases in the news paper and online and I don't get it. The most recent example being this

    http://glenburnie.patch.com/articles...ie-high-school

    Local slimeball teacher had been sleeping with several of his students over the course of a couple of years. Said slimeball submits an alford plea which is worded this way in the article.
    By entering the Alford plea, Sears admitted that the state had enough of a case against him to find him guilty while maintaining his innocence. The plea carries the same weight as a guilty plea.
    How can he maintain his innocence when he admits there's enough evidence to find him guilty? Sounds like slimeball is just trying to save face.


  2. #2
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    Usually it's offered up to the prosecution when there might be evidence, but there's no assurance of conviction (for whatever reason) in court. Sometimes the prosecution offers it as well for the same reasons.


    It allows a defendant to say "there was evidence, it pointed at me, but it wasn't me for X reason, however I take responsiibility for being in a position to even have evidence be able to point at me."

  3. #3
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    If it makes it easier for the guy to stomach taking the plea, and I have my conviction as the prosecutor, I rarely care about the distinction. He's guilty in the law's eyes, whether he wants to say so or not.

    One time I did refuse for such a plea to be entered, and that's because it was a sexual misconduct case and I wanted the victim to hear him say he'd done her wrong. But normally I could care less.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tennOsfan View Post
    If it makes it easier for the guy to stomach taking the plea, and I have my conviction as the prosecutor, I rarely care about the distinction. He's guilty in the law's eyes, whether he wants to say so or not.

    One time I did refuse for such a plea to be entered, and that's because it was a sexual misconduct case and I wanted the victim to hear him say he'd done her wrong. But normally I could care less.
    Is there really any difference between a guilty plea and an Alford plea? Is it something that might make it easier for them to find employment post conviction or something?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miller192 View Post
    Is there really any difference between a guilty plea and an Alford plea? Is it something that might make it easier for them to find employment post conviction or something?
    Sometimes it's to get out of prison with time served.

  6. #6
    sangar's Avatar
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    Isn't there also something about civil litigation? An Alford plea can't be used as evidence if the victim sues, whereas a guilty plea can?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wedge View Post
    Sometimes it's to get out of prison with time served.
    Quote Originally Posted by sangar View Post
    Isn't there also something about civil litigation? An Alford plea can't be used as evidence if the victim sues, whereas a guilty plea can?
    Well, this would make sense.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sangar View Post
    Isn't there also something about civil litigation? An Alford plea can't be used as evidence if the victim sues, whereas a guilty plea can?
    At least in Tennessee, the Alford plea can be used as evidence in a civil trial. Now if it's a plea of nolo contendre, it counts as a guilty plea but cannot be used in civil court.

  9. #9
    Toonces's Avatar
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    I know nothing, but am curious as to what Nolle prosequi actually means and how often it's actually used. Thanks for any help from those educated in the matter.

  10. #10
    IHeartMASN's Avatar
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    I'm not an attorney, but I have seen lots of episodes of Law & Order, Boston Legal and every episode of Matlock. It seems that with an Alford plea you also wouldn't have to allocute.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toonces View Post
    I know nothing, but am curious as to what Nolle prosequi actually means and how often it's actually used. Thanks for any help from those educated in the matter.
    It means the state moved to dismiss the charge. It can be done with or without prejudice. With prejudice means the case can never be brought back to life; without prejudice means it can be recharged and started over.

    Some prosecutors use nolle's more than others. If a person has 40 charges, I might nolle half to give some incentive to plead the others (which would be with prejudice since part of the case pled out). And sometimes the whole thing gets nolle'd because a needed witness is gone, the officer fired for misdeeds, the case just stinks, etc.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by IHeartMASN View Post
    I'm not an attorney, but I have seen lots of episodes of Law & Order, Boston Legal and every episode of Matlock. It seems that with an Alford plea you also wouldn't have to allocute.
    The defendant simply acknowledges that the State has enough evidence to convict but doesn't acknowledge that they committed the crime. The allocution basically comes from the State, but different judges do things differently in the way it goes down.

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