May 13, 2010 8:40AM

Jury Acquits Tonya Craft

A Georgia jury has acquitted Tonya Craft of 22 criminal charges relating to child abuse and child molestation. A remarkable outcome given the awful rulings of the judge during the trial. Previous coverage here and here

When so many charges are leveled, the pressure to enter into a plea bargain intensifies–even if the accused is innocent. The defense attorney will say something like, “Look, some kids are going to say you did something awful. That’s going to happen. We might persuade the jury to acquit on most of the charges, but there’s still a chance they will convict you on a few counts. That could mean several years in jail. Might be better to plead guilty to one charge, serve six months, and then get on with your life.” Some people breezily proclaim that they would never plead guilty to a crime they did not commit, but when your own freedom is really on the line, the decision is not so easy.

More on plea bargaining here (pdf).