Ask a Criminal Attorney: Will Trump’s Staff Get A Great Criminal Defense Attorney?
One guilty plea and two Federal Indictments at the hands of Robert Mueller against Trump’s staff last week – should the defendants be worried? Very, Federal Indictments, while not infallible, are always serious and thorough. One attorney in a bail hearing called the charges against his client flimsy. I have never seen a flimsy Federal Indictment and I doubt the judge took the attorney’s claim seriously.
Between guilty pleas and trials, the conviction rate was 99.8% in U.S. federal courts in 2015: 126,802 convictions and 258 acquittals. That wasn’t an anomaly. In 2014 the conviction rate was 99.76% and in 2013 it was 99.75%. Whether tried by a jury or a judge, it is a shaky roll of the dice for a defendant to go to trial in federal court. Only 258 of the 3,024 defendants who went to trial in 2015 were acquitted. Thus, a federal defendant who decides to go to trial has about a one in twelve chance of an acquittal.
And as most of you know, the Defendant who pleads guilty will almost always receive less jail time than a defendant who chooses a jury trial. And cooperating and pleading guilty gets the defendant the least amount of jail time. So that is what is encouraging about the Indictments if you feel that they are justified — cooperation will help Mueller indict more guilty parties.