Barrett Brown Signs Plea Deal

from the of-course dept

Late yesterday, a superseding indictment was filed in Barrett Brown’s case, knocking the charges down to just two, with the main one being that he somehow offered assistance to Jeremy Hammond, who had taken an earlier plea deal for the Stratfor hack. As many people suggested, this new indictment was almost certainly because of a plea deal, which has now been confirmed, as the court also granted a motion to seal the plea deal.

The case against Brown has been something of a travesty from the beginning, as Brown was clearly never involved in the hack, but was involved in reporting on the hack and then involved in some rather misguided public ranting in which he threatened the feds if they came after him. As it became clear that the key part of the government’s case hinged on the idea that copying and pasting a link found elsewhere was tantamount to hackking, the DOJ was forced to back down and dismiss most of the charges. Brown has been in jail for many months already, and it’s likely that the plea deal will keep him in for a short while longer. Accepting a plea deal is pretty standard in these situations. If you’re not familiar with how these things go down, when the DOJ is embarrassed — as they clearly were in this case — they almost always pressure defendants into agreeing to some minor plea deal, to save face for themselves. It takes the “risk” away from the defendant, and generally speeds up the process. It’s the same sort of thing that happened to Thomas Drake. As we’ve said before, if you think plea deals like this are an actual admission of guilt, we suggest you watch the documentary Better This World, which shows you how the DOJ deals with cases like this, where they will do basically anything to get people to plead guilty.



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Comments on “Barrett Brown Signs Plea Deal”

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18 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

If you won't stand your ground...

when you run your mouth about it, then you deserve the shit you got! Seems like only people like Snowden have the brass to standup for their beliefs and do something about it.

Be prepared to stand your ground till the end or fucking bow your serf ass head… cause you are making it easy for law enforcement to puff themselves up and strike fear across the land.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: If you won't stand your ground...

If you won’t stand your ground…

when you run your mouth about it, then you deserve the shit you got!

Easy to say. You’re not the one facing decades in jail.

Don’t be surprised, should Snowden ever come back if he takes a plea deal as well. You DO NOT understand the calculus that goes into the decision — OR the pressure that the DOJ puts on people to accept a deal.

People who insist that no one should accept a plea deal are people who have never been in that situation.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: If you won't stand your ground...

Given how much egg-on-face Snowden has inflicted on the USG, and his actions bringing to light the completely insane overreaches by the various spy agencies, I’d say ‘several decades in jail’ would be the least of his worries, should he ever be suicidal enough to risk getting within range of the USG.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: If you won't stand your ground...

Prosecutorial discretion isn the most undemocratic thing I can think of and it should be shot out of a cannon. Swiftly followed by that hive of scum and villainy, the Department of Justice, which has forgotten the collectivsa face of its fathers and should be sent West. To Alcatraz. And locked away for eternity.

David says:

Re: Re: Re: If you won't stand your ground...

Prosecutorial discretion isn the most undemocratic thing I can think of

The courts are not democratic: that would be lynch justice. The problem here is not being “undemocratic” but promoting a perversion of justice by giving prosecutors incentives and powers that are unsuitable for finding justice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: If you won't stand your ground...

Prosecutorial discretion isn the most undemocratic thing I can think of and it should be shot out of a cannon. Swiftly followed by that hive of scum and villainy, the Department of Justice, which has forgotten the collectivsa face of its fathers and should be sent West. To Alcatraz. And locked away for eternity.

Never lock terrorist up at an island for eternity. Next thing, they become president and (later) receive a hero’s funeral. Remember Robben Island.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: If you won't stand your ground...

this*

Hate publicly agreeing with Mike (I hate whiteknites on forums/blogs who act only because of WHO said it) Usually I would just agree and move on. Nothing personal Mike, am sure whiteknites annoy you too.

How the US criminal justice system works.

1)They charge you with lots of shit that will not stick.
2)You stay in jail awaiting trial.
3)Lot’s of charges are dropped.
4)A plea deal is offered.
5)You get out because “time served”
6)You admit guilt.

100% conviction rate is the standard for American prosecutors
The plea deal gives them the 100% conviction rate.

TL;DR
Admit guilt…..Get convicted of lesser offense….get out of jail.
The alternative is having to defend against lots of charges while staying in jail.

Anonymous Coward says:

While the Justice department is surely complicit in making plea bargains work to cover up their screw ups, there is more to this. The Justice department is seriously over worked and underfunded. If everyone chose to refuse to plea bargain, the Justice system would grind to a near halt with people spending years waiting for their trial to come up.

As Mike says, if you have never been in this position it is real easy to spout off about your principals. When it becomes your ass they are talking about sending away for the next 20 years or so if you don’t take the plea and they get a guilty sentence, 5 to 7 might not look so bad while you are setting in the jail cell waiting. Most people take the plea, seeing it as the easiest way out and that is what the Justice department is depending on to keep the court system moving.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Which might sound great in theory… right until someone who’s innocent gets tossed in the meatgrinder, and suddenly that 5-7 years still looks like 5-7 years too many.

Add to that the fact that if they really want someone to accept a plea deal, they’re likely going to be tacking on as many charges as they can think of, making those ’20 years’ seem tame in comparison, and the entire system of ‘plea deals’ becomes even more ridiculous, as it gives them incentives to add on crimes and ‘crimes’ to both force the defendant to fold, and punish them if they don’t.

Anonymous Coward says:

I say, take it to trial. Whole thing was bullshit from day one. Then, turn the table, and go after prosecutor’s own personal assets (and law license).

They will abuse law as long as public allows. Once crooked public officals got their fingers burnt (I mean their own), they start to think before shooting.

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