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How would you plead?
Old 06-30-2015, 09:03 PM   #1
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How would you plead?


This is based on a true story:

I went to traffic court (quite a number of years ago) as I was given a ticket for not coming to a full stop at a stop sign. And, that was true--I rolled right through that sucker.

Anyhow, the day I was in court, was the judgeís last day on the bench. He had been a judge for a very long time--40+ years. Apparently he was well-loved. Before the court started that day, there was a party for him in the court room, attended by people who worked in the courthouse. Attorneys, the press and defendants also showed up. (Everybody got pastry and coffee except the defendants).

Court finally comes into session. Perjury is discussed. The judge tells us we can plead either: guilty; guilty with an explanation; or not guilty. He says that guilty with an explanation is actually the same as guilty, but he will listen to our explanations.

The first two people plead guilty and both are fined. Next person pleads guilty with an explanation; the judge shakes his head and fines the person. Next person pleads not guilty giving the judge a ridiculous reason as to why he is not guilty. The judge nods and smiles and lets the defendant off. This goes on for awhile, people pleading guilty or guilty with an explanation being declared guilty with the judge shaking his head and groaning as if they just donít get it. Anybody pleading innocent is declared innocent with the judge smiling and telling them to have a nice day and drive safely.

So, suppose you rolled through the stop sign, and swore to tell the truth in court under the threat of perjury, how would you plead?


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Old 06-30-2015, 09:09 PM   #2
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Pleading not guilty, even if you know you are, is not the same thing as committing perjury. Now if you got up on the witness stand and lied about what happened, that would be a different story.

Imagine if every person who took their case to court, pleaded not guilty but was found guilty, was then charged with perjury?
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:16 PM   #3
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I rolled through a stop sign before and got a ticket. I pleaded guilty and just paid the standard $50 fine (a great bargain compared to today's ticket prices). This was many years ago.

I remember the judge dishing out higher fines for folks who pleaded not guilty and tried a lame excuse.
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:20 PM   #4
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So, how did you plead, duck?
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:29 PM   #5
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Let's let this go on a bit longer, then I will fess up.
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:34 PM   #6
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I would have pled guilty just because I have been pulled over by an officer probably 15 times. I have only received one ticket ever and it was the first time I was pulled over back in 1988. I would figure its my turn to pay.


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Old 06-30-2015, 09:43 PM   #7
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In Texas I'd plea Nolo Contendere and pay the fine or take a drivers safety course if allowed. Not sure if those options are available in all states.
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:52 PM   #8
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In Texas I'd plea Nolo Contendere and pay the fine or take a divers safety course if allowed. Not sure if those options are available in all states.
Well, that would be interesting!
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:54 PM   #9
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Well, that would be interesting!
how about "drivers"
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:05 PM   #10
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Maybe I didn't make it clear (or, maybe I did): the judge WANTED all the defendants to plead "not guilty" whether they deserved the ticket or not. And then he would find them "not guilty" no matter what their reasoning was for being "not guilty". He was willing to accept any story.

The issue here is (I think it's the issue) do you lie to a judge because he obviously wants you to?
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:09 PM   #11
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The issue here is (I think it's the issue) do you lie to a judge because he obviously wants you to?
You always have the option of saying "I failed to come to a complete stop and am pleading not guilty." No lie there...
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:13 PM   #12
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I'd definitely plead not guilty, especially when the judge is giving free gifts.

I always plead not guilty if I'm in court. At the very least the plea causes them to knock the ticket down to the next level, ie. speeding 14 mph above the limit gets knocked down to 9 mph above the limit just by pleading not guilty. It's part of the game they play. I also always go to court on the chance the cop won't show up. Usually I ask for a reschedule which increases the chance he won't be there.

Of course, now that I've got cruise control I don't get these leadfoot tickets anymore.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redduck View Post
Maybe I didn't make it clear (or, maybe I did): the judge WANTED all the defendants to plead "not guilty" whether they deserved the ticket or not. And then he would find them "not guilty" no matter what their reasoning was for being "not guilty". He was willing to accept any story.

The issue here is (I think it's the issue) do you lie to a judge because he obviously wants you to?
You are not lying to the judge... you're just pleading not guilty... you are not testifying that you didn't do it... it is the prosecution's job to prove that you did do it and you can't be compelled to testify against yourself.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:29 PM   #14
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I use cruise a lot too, just for the reason of keeping my speed just a little above the limit or on the limit.

You should have plead not guilty as it simply means "proof it". There are lots of cases where a person did a crime, plead not guilty and was found not guilty even though they did the act.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:33 PM   #15
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I use cruise a lot too, just for the reason of keeping my speed just a little above the limit or on the limit.
Me too, although it's more like 8 mph over for me, at least at highway speeds. Never been pulled over at that range.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:33 PM   #16
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You always have the option of saying "I failed to come to a complete stop and am pleading not guilty." No lie there...
Couldn't you have told me this before? (Like when I needed it)?
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:46 PM   #17
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Pleading not guilty is not the lie. It's the reason you give that could be the lie. So, the question remains: is it morally (?) justified to lie in court if the judge is encouraging it? Does it brush up against your own personal code of ethics?
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:59 PM   #18
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How about you plead guilty and if he asks then either say that you plead the 5th or that you have no good explanation?

I'm not a lawyer but I don't think you can commit perjury unless you are under oath.
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:02 PM   #19
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One can commit a crime or an infraction, and still be not guilty. By reason of insanity, anyone? Or you can say you are just temporarily absentminded. You can tell the truth hoping to get off on extenuating circumstances. That's not perjury.

Anyway, I got moving traffic tickets (3) 4 times in my life. I just paid and never went to court.
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:09 PM   #20
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Personally, I'd have no problem pleading not guilty in your scenario, since there was no victim. If someone had been injured or sustained a monetary loss due to my actions, that would be a different story.
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