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Tag: guilty pleas

Sentencing Shift Gives New Leverage to Prosecutors

By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.
New York Times

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — After decades of new laws to toughen sentencing for criminals, prosecutors have gained greater leverage to extract guilty pleas from defendants and reduce the number of cases that go to trial, often by using the threat of more serious charges with mandatory sentences or other harsher penalties.

Some experts say the process has become coercive in many state and federal jurisdictions, forcing defendants to weigh their options based on the relative risks of facing a judge and jury rather than simple matters of guilt or innocence. In effect, prosecutors are giving defendants more reasons to avoid having their day in court.

“We now have an incredible concentration of power in the hands of prosecutors,” said Richard E. Myers II, a former assistant United States attorney who is now an associate professor of law at the University of North Carolina. He said that so much influence now resides with prosecutors that “in the wrong hands, the criminal justice system can be held hostage.”

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Feds Step Up Crackdown on Graft in Calif. Tomato Processing Biz

The food industry is grabbing unwanted publicity as of late. Peanut butter and tomatoes. What’s next? For the sake of us chronic snackers, please don’t mess with the Potato CHIPS!

By Demian Bulwa,
San Francisco Chronicle
SACRAMENTO — Federal investigators stepped up a crackdown on alleged graft in California’s huge tomato-processing industry by securing guilty pleas from two people Wednesday, including a Kings County woman who admitted to mislabeling products that should have been thrown out because of high mold content.

Jennifer Dahlman, 48, of Lemoore, was a longtime employee at SK Foods, which provides tomato paste to food makers for use in sauces, soups and other products. The Lemoore company has been the target of a federal probe into alleged bribery, price-fixing and mislabeling, with prosecutors calling it a “racketeering enterprise.”

Prosecutors said the corruption alleged in the case raised consumer prices for tomato sauces, soups and salsas.

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