I should have pled guilty.
My choice to maintain my innocence netted me a six year sentence. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t commit a crime – or that the detective, a 25 year veteran of the police force who was called to the scene, said as much under oath. I should have just pled guilty.
Inmates here at the USDB who brokered pre-trial agreements (PTAs) are serving drastically shorter sentences simply because they admitted to their crimes (some of which are far more egregious than what I was accused of) before their trials.
I didn’t even entertain the notion of a PTA. If I would have gone the PTA route, I would have had to convince a judge of my guilt rather than my innocence. Thus, if you are innocent and enter a PTA, then you’re lying to the judge – contempt, which is a crime. I’ve laid awake at nights wondering…if I’d just lied and accepted a PTA, how much shorter of a sentence and lesser of a charge could I have bartered for?
I wish someone would have told me how slim my chances of acquittal were before I chose this path.
The cherry on top? I’ll have to undergo “treatment” for the crime I was convicted of. A mandatory part of “treatment” is to accept responsibility for my crime. If I don’t willingly undergo this treatment, my chances of parole will shrink into a little black hole. So since I didn’t lie early on and barter for a PTA, I’ll be forced to lie now. I suppose I could stick to my guns, but what good would that do me? It’ll just keep me in here longer. It’s not like I’ll get out with a clean slate just because I maintain my innocence. And I really want to get out of here.
Seems like the guilty man wins all around. He gets a shorter sentence via his PTA, then he gets a favorable look from the parole board for accepting responsibility for his crime.