Amy Bishop pleaded guilty nearly two weeks ago to capital murder.
But her fate wasn’t decided until Monday. So . . . why? Why bother with a fully jury trial when both sides agree?
Attorney Ron Smith says the law protects people who might feel pressure to plead regardless of guilt.
Attorney Ron Smith says, “I can think of many reasons why someone might want to get that off the table and plead guilty to capital murder, when maybe they think they really may just have committed murder or manslaughter or something else, just to avoid the death penalty.”
Taking the time to produce evidence in court prevents legal technicalities from undoing the work.
Smith says, “Somebody could say they were coerced into pleading guilty, that they really didn’t do it. They pled guilty because they didn’t want to be killed. This guards against that by making sure not only did you plead guilty, but there was sufficient evidence.”
So actually proceedings like Bishop’s may cost in the short-term, but they save money in the long run.
Smith explains, “Capital litigation is so expensive. you hate to do all this, and then ten years down the road somehow it all gets set aside and you’re back to square one.”