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Just Tell the Truth and Quit Whining

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It has become a drumbeat narrative among our adversaries that defendants plead guilty, not because they are guilty, but because of either the "draconian" sentences that await them after trial, or as a result of some sneaky side deal they never mentioned at the time they pled, but are happy to claim years later in the habeas petition.*

I've always had one answer to this:  Tell the truth.  If you're not guilty, say so.  Go to trial and show up the prosecutor for the conniving S.O.B. you say he is.  He bears the burden, and has to convince all 12 beyond a reasonable doubt.  

Of course, the main reason to tell the truth is not to show up anyone.  It's that telling the truth is a virtue and a moral good unto itself.  But if an extrinsic justification were needed, it's that no even arguably decent criminal justice system can survive without the ability to demand, and get, the truth.  So tell the truth and quit whining.

I mention this by way of introducing a convoluted but utterly fascinating NYT story today about how much misery can start with just one lie.  And the lie was not about a murder case, but a speeding ticket.

*I'm putting aside for purposes of this post the fact that these claims of false self-incrimination are almost always fictitious.

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