When the only way to go free is to plead guilty

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  • Published on:  Wednesday, February 21, 2018
  • A confounding case in Baltimore shows just how far prosecutors will go to keep a win on the books.

    Check out ProPublica’s feature story on the use of the Alford plea here: https://www.propublica.org/article/wh...

    In 1987 police detectives — who’d later be made famous by David Simon, creator of “The Wire” —  used flimsy evidence to pin a burglary, rape and murder case on James Thompson and James Owens. They were both sentenced to life in prison. Then 20 years later, DNA evidence cleared each of them of the rape and unraveled the state’s theory of the crime. But instead of exonerating the two men, prosecutors dangled the prison keys, pushing them to plead guilty to the crime in exchange for immediate freedom. What prosecutors offered was a controversial deal called an Alford plea. Last year, ProPublica investigated prosecutors’ use of Alford pleas and similar deals in cases of wrongful convictions, and found they often cover up official misconduct. Check out the story of the two Jameses above to see what happened after the Alford plea was offered in their cases.

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  • Vox
    Vox  7 months ago +918

    This video was made in collaboration with ProPublica. Our partnership has investigated drug companies, the environmental effects of an explosive used by the military, racial profiling by the Jacksonville, Florida PD, and more. Watch the other videos here: http://bit.ly/2BFMhc0

    • c. j. macq
      c. j. macq  2 months ago +1

      there's the old saying; you want justice? go to a whorehouse. you wanna get screwed? go to court! I've been telling people for decades that prosecutors, nationally, have OVER a 95% conviction rate. how is that possible? its through the scam of plea bargains. they kidnap innocent people, torture them for months and offer a deal that if they plead guilty to a lesser charge they aren't guilty of they can go free! and that's precisely what happened to me. even the arresting cop said I should've never been arrested but the prosecutor didn't give a damn. all he wanted was that conviction on his record! but jury trials are a toss up! they convict innocent people all the time! which makes the plea deal even more enticing. I was released on the same day I was falsely "convicted" of the lesser false accusation. on that day I was attacked by an inmate and for the last 20 years I've been physically suffering from that attack! all because the prosecutor WAS A CRIMINAL! and the Alford Plea is completely unconstitutional. how can a person be convicted by a confession when he states his innocence in open court? furthermore, I can't find ANY lawyers to help me. just how do these people find lawyers who'll sue on their behalf? I've been looking for 20 years. there's NONE in sight. the American legal system is a TOTAL sham!

    • Joanne O Neill
      Joanne O Neill  2 months ago +1

      blackops2096 I agree with you that thompson did things wrong things that make my blood boil. But the system knew what he was doing and they went along with his lies. God only knows what was going on in his life at the time but it must have been messed up for him to do such a thing. He was a messed up man when he destroyed both their lives. The system and courts are there because they are not supposed to be messed up but when the system knows that a man is lying to get money and they turn a blind eye and let the real killer walk around free giving him or her the opportunity to kill and rape again makes the system who is there to protect us all more guilty than that fool Thompson.

    • Bros angles
      Bros angles  5 months ago

      Vox Q

    • P Mann
      P Mann  6 months ago

      Must see!!!
      See the YouTube video titled "Smiley Face Killers, Case Solved & Covered Up, FBI/Amish, Serial Killers, Homicide..."
      Leave a comment, spread the word & subscribe.

    • Karim Shebeika
      Karim Shebeika  6 months ago

      I see what you mean. But it is not only about good and evil but about the right process.

  • weasel945
    weasel945  4 days ago

    He should still be charged with hindering an investigation at least.

  • Dafuq
    Dafuq  9 days ago

    Was rewarded evidence a usual thing back then ?
    Giving money to civilian in exchange of evidence seems really flawed to me, and would certainly lead to abuses...

  • Buchanan Games
    Buchanan Games  10 days ago

    i essentially had an Alfred Plea

  • Mindfook Films
    Mindfook Films  11 days ago

    American judicial system is a farce.

  • Gary McSpadden tech

    The Thompson case leaves us with two bad choices. Either he is a convicted felon or he is an innocent person wrongly convicted. We need a third option. He should be classified as dysfunctional. This classification should not be stigmatized but it would also change how he is dealt with by Society. I believe the crimes Thompson did commit, tampering with evidence or interfering with an investigation and possibly fraud, were probably themselves felonies. If he had received treatment for his mental health issues, it might have saved the taxpayers a great deal of money.

  • Sir Cammock Congo
    Sir Cammock Congo  13 days ago

    Thompson is a Mook...he intended to send a presumably innocent man to jail...

  • David Gochenour
    David Gochenour  19 days ago

    That’s why u never ever talk to the police

  • Cheezd
    Cheezd  21 days ago +1

    Wait.... James Franco is not in the thumbnail???

  • dangelo haimau
    dangelo haimau  24 days ago

    That's why you don't snitch

  • OC-SJC :.
    OC-SJC :.  24 days ago

    So because he wanted to get out he took the plea for his own seldish reasons and he was the one who started this mess in the first place and because they convicted him its his fault that the murdered womans family will never get justice because its officially a closed case wow

  • OC-SJC :.
    OC-SJC :.  24 days ago

    The bald guy deserves it
    He cried wolf

  • Destroy TheHuman
    Destroy TheHuman  25 days ago

    Thompson is guilty and deserves a record for the rest of his life. He murdered Owens life for 21 years. He isn’t innocent and doesn’t deserve all the nice things about being innocent.
    You set up your friend for a murder just because you had a falling out. Sorry doesn’t cut it

  • Thief
    Thief  a months ago +1

    All for $1,000.

  • 713Don3rdCoast
    713Don3rdCoast  1 months ago

    1 little lie.

  • Nettie Harris
    Nettie Harris  1 months ago +1

    Thompson isn't the brightest bulb is he

  • Skye Murphy
    Skye Murphy  1 months ago

    I don't feel sorry for Thompson but not a lot, he did try to get someone else arrested for the murder and hoped they would end up in jail and he would get money illegitimately; 21 years was a bit too much but he did try to get someone else arrested while fully acknowledging that they are innocent and should still have the felon label - just a more correct one.

  • Timothy Reiland
    Timothy Reiland  1 months ago

    As bad as I feel for him and others in his situation, I think he got what he deserved by lying, snitching on someone he knew didn't commit the crime, and then lying again in court, then lying again when he took the Alford Plea - he did it to himself.

    PUMPLE  1 months ago

    What do the police do if someone spent years in jail for nothing

  • Sean Manning
    Sean Manning  1 months ago

    Thompson deserves what he got for throwing someone else under the bus for just for $1000 absolute scum.Owens will never get that time back poor guy.