Saturday, August 13, 2011

The jury tax

The law states that a criminal defendant cannot be penalized merely for exercising a constitutional right, such as a jury trial.  But as defense lawyers know, penalties can sometimes be harsher if a defendant passes on a plea deal and instead proceeds to trial, and loses.  This isn’t always the case; in fact, because criminal statutes today cover such a broad range of innocuous behavior, it’s sometimes better for a defendant to have a trial, even if he ends up losing.  This way, the judge can see just how mitigated the “crime” actually was, and might take that into account when pronouncing sentence.  But the risk of receiving a harsher penalty for going to trial and losing—also known as the jury tax—is alive and well, at least in Wisconsin.

Monday, August 1, 2011

NCAA Madness Part II: An Insider’s Perspective

I recently suggested, here, that the problem in college sports isn’t the schools, players and coaches that break NCAA rules, but rather the bureaucrats that make the rules in the first place.  One of The Legal Watchdog’s readers is Norm Cloutier, Professor of Economics and Faculty Athletics Representative for the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, my alma mater and home of the NCAA Division-II Parkside Rangers.  With Norm’s permission, I have reprinted his insightful comments after the jump.