I’ve been given the unwanted privilege of enjoying the overrated comforts of the Monroe County Detention Center and a firsthand look at the local judicial system and how it works.
Through personal experience and observation, I’ve come to find this judicial system much more of a one-sided aristocracy than an innocent-until-proven-guilty form of justice. It’s more like guilty unless we decide to prove your innocence. Those placed in the position of public defender and paid by the state with tax dollars appear to be defending only their bank accounts. Another person’s life is of lesser value.
Public defenders seem to be working together with the prosecution at prolonging the separation between each court proceeding. Before each proceeding, the public defender presents an offer given by the state attorney to their defendant. The defendant may accept the offer or not. Not once have I heard a public defender say, “Are you ready to win this?” It’s always, “Take this deal or it’ll be worse on you if you go to trial.”
If a defendant chooses to go to trial, he or she normally sits in jail for a year or longer due to excessive and usually unnecessary continuances. Plea offers continue being presented during that period. The system is systematically coercing individuals and continually stripping away their rights. The corruption within the judicial system is in desperate need of being exposed.
I’d rather not sit in jail for a year to have a five- to 10-minute trial over a tricycle.
David Wargo, inmate, Monroe County Detention Center, Plantation Key