Everyone is entitled to their day in court, but many defendants don’t want to be there for it.
No matter, the show will go on, prosecutors say, with our without the accused.
Prosecutors plan to start trying criminal cases in District Court even if the defendant does not bother to show.
“There are 6,000 active cases in Fall River District Court. Of those, 2,800 are in default,” said First Assistant District Attorney William McCauley.
“Our intent is, if they don’t show, to try them in absentia.”
William McCauley works for DA Sam Sutter. But wait, whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?
The goal here, like having over worked public defenders with no caseload limits is a goal of DA Sutter’s, is to efficiently move cases along. To quote McCauley again:
“We want to make sure there is an efficient management of cases,” McCauley said.
Who needs justice if the system can be efficient instead:
“The default (failing to appear for a court date) grinds the system down. We can’t efficiently manage the system.”
The rememedy? Just try them, lock them up, and let the taxpayers provide room and board for however long, at $43,000.00 a year.
To quote McCauley again:
Prosecutors say a judge should be able to hold the trial and even sentence a defendant if the defendant is convicted. If that happened, a defendant tried and convicted in absentia could end up spending two years in jail after getting stopped for running a red light.
It is a harsh system, but more fair than the current practice, McCauley argued.
This message must resonate across the DA landscape, since DA Samuel Sutter was elected the President of the District Attorney Association
Whatever happened to this country’s search for equal access to justice?