The trouble with federal plea bargains

My friend and occasional collaborator Harvey Silverglate has a terrific commentary in the Boston Globe on the plea deal reached by federal prosecutors with Joseph Lally in the corruption case against former Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi.

Lally, a former associate of DiMasi’s, received quite a goody bag in return for his plea: a two- to three-year prison sentence, compared to the nine he might have gotten if he’d gone to trial and been found guilty, as well as the right to keep his home and $30,000 in savings.

“But leniency comes at a price,” Silverglate observes. “Lally has agreed to provide testimony that will help prosecutors. The dog gets the bone only if it performs the trick.”

Here’s what I wrote in the Guardian about Silverglate’s book, “Three Felonies a Day,” which painstakingly documents numerous examples of overreach and abuse by federal prosecutors.

As the case against DiMasi continues to unfold, I’ll be watching for objective, documentary evidence regarding his guilt or innocence.

Photo (cc) by Amy and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.