For those of us with nothing better to do than follow the latest Lindsay Lohan legal drama, this week marked an important moment: Lindsay officially issued a statement saying she would not take a plea deal (which would have involved some mandatory jail time) on felony grand theft charges of stealing that now-infamous necklace. Instead, she will take her chances at trial.
LiLo had already indicated that she wouldn’t take any plea that involved jail time, but since she isn’t exactly famous for her top-notch decision-making skills, we asked some people who actually went to law school to weigh in on whether going to trial is a good idea.
Gerald Lefcourt, a prominent New York attorney and past president of the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, points out that the question of whether to make a deal or go to trial is the critical question in every case. Says Lefcourt, “One of the toughest and most important decisions an accused faces is whether to accept a negotiated plea offer or take the risk of going to trial and have her fate decided by a jury. That decision is even more difficult in high profile cases where concerns about damaging pre-trial publicity, public sentiment about the accused, and the ability to find a fair and impartial jury predominate. Pleading guilty eliminates uncertainty and is often the best way to mitigate the risk of receiving a harsher sentence if convicted after trial.” Continue reading