Julie Amero, the Connecticut substitute teacher who was charged with child endangerment, pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct for a $100 fine. I have blogged about this case and have linked to others who have. (I'll link in later when I have time!).
I was recently involved in a case in which I obtained a plea offer in a case which knocked down multiple counts of child rape to a no jail time misdemeanor. The client had passed a polygraph and I had gotten some very interesting information about the child and his family. The judge refused to accept the plea on the grounds that if the case was that weak it should be dismissed rather than enter even a nominal plea and if it wasn't that weak that there should be a trial.
I appreciate the judge's position but I often have heartburn with those sorts of judicial second-guessing of plea bargains. It was the client's call whether to accept a nominal plea vs. roll the dice on a verdict. As is so often the case, the client elected for the safe bet. Can and should the client ultimately prevail at trial-sure? Could he be convicted on the very same evidence (a he said, he said case)-sure. This is always a tough call and I respect the client's decision (and its always their decision)either way.
The system is imperfect and it sounds like Ms. Amero finally got ground down and just wanted to put the mess behind her. Based on my 3d hand reading of the evidence I don't think she should be convicted despite the fact that she was convicted during the first trial. Would the second trial have carried the day? Who knows. Its the best court system in the world and still grossly imperfect and always will be.