Why Innocent People Plead Guilty

VennerRoad By VennerRoad, 4th Jan 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

Why would an innocent man plead guilty to a crime he didn’t commit, or even to an imaginary crime?

Why Innocent People Plead Guilty

To begin with there can be practical reasons, especially when the offence concerned is trivial. Imagine a holiday-maker charged with a minor assault or public order offence. He may be innocent and know he is innocent, but the expense and effort involved defending the charge, including travelling back and forth, may not be worth the hassle. This happens all the time with parking offences, which are mostly not crimes in the proper sense, but for serious crimes that can attract serious prison time, the answer to the question why do innocent people plead guilty is not so easy to answer. False confessions to murders are by no means uncommon, but the case of Sture Bergwall, the Swedish man who became known as serial killer Thomas Quick is in a class by itself.

In 1991, he was serving a sentence for armed robbery - a valid conviction - then stabbed a man, which led to him being reclassified from a mere criminal to criminally insane. Then he confessed and confessed and confessed to murders, which led to his conviction in a series of trials. There was no corroboration for any of these murders, information already in the public domain cannot be called corroboration, and the claims he made that went beyond public information were incorrect, including the fact that two of his alleged victims turned up alive!

For whatever reason, this pathetic social inadequate chose to throw away his life, but most innocent people who plead guilty do so for more pragmatic reasons. The worst place for this kind of injustice is without doubt the United States, because there, district attorneys have the power to threaten guilty and innocent defendants alike with Draconian sentences if they plead not guilty. This power is not always unwarranted. In 2001, Linda Carty recruited a gang of miscreants for an insane crime which resulted in her murdering the victim, Joana Rodriguez. Because it was committed in Texas, where murder can be capital, the authorities offered her co-defendants lesser sentences if they testified for the State. Carty committed the murder herself, instigating the kidnapping that led to it by misleading her co-conspirators into believing they would be able to scoop a large quantity of money and drugs. By pleading guilty, they saved the State the cost of a more expensive trial, expressed remorse (which they surely felt) and ensured the prime mover was convicted, even though the evidence against Carty was overwhelming without their testimony.

That being said, most cases involving plea bargains are anything but as clear-cut, and have been known to result in gross injustice. In the 1990s, an American citizen - who will not be named here - spent over six years behind bars in the UK, mostly Brixton Prison, fighting extradition on charges of “drugs and money laundering”. If he had been extradited, he would probably never have seen daylight again. As things turned out, he was eventually offered a deal which allowed him to return home, plead guilty to a lesser offence, and have the time served abroad counted towards his sentence.

Although the sisterhood of lies never stops whining about how difficult it is to prove a rape case, due process has been eroded to such a degree on both sides of the Atlantic in all sexual assault cases that a man can be convicted on little evidence or even none. Such was not the case in 1975 when Wayman Cammile was arrested for the rape of Alice Mock. As she was a 64 year old woman, and Cammile, who was considerably younger, was found lying on her bed in a drunken stupor, most detectives would regard this as an open and shut case. The householder told police he had forced his way in and raped her before passing out. Cammile pleaded guilty to second degree burglary and sexual assault, receiving a sentence of fifteen years.

In November 1986, Alice Mock died, but on her deathbed she made a stunning confession to Evelyn Burns. Cammile, a chronic alcoholic, had knocked on her door, and she had let him in. It remains to be seen if in spite of her age this was a business transaction as has been implied, but Alice Mock stole his money, and the rape never happened. Wayman Cammile was released from prison in June the following year, and died in November 1990 at the age of just 53.

In 1958, an even more remarkable case came before a Louisiana court, one that thankfully did not result in an innocent man spending a decade and more in prison. William Lott pleaded guilty to “simple rape” and was given a five year sentence. At that time, aggravated rape was capital in the State, and women were just as unforgiving as they are today; his wife divorced him. Then a girl reported she had been beaten by a group of Negroes. An assistant district attorney recognised her name as the victim in the Lott case, a special investigation was ordered, Lott was cleared, and he was pardoned by State Governor Earl Long.

In the Irish Republic, a very unusual rape case from 2004-2005 was cleared up only in February 2013 with the accused being pronounced innocent. The names of the parties were not released, but a man who like Wayman Cammile had a serious drink problem was accused of raping his own underage niece. He pleaded guilty because he thought that might save him a gaol sentence, a claim that is difficult to take seriously. Years later his guilty plea was withdrawn when the girl, and her mother - the man’s sister, who had put her up to it - both recanted. When asked why she had manipulated her daughter into this quite terrible false accusation, the woman said it was because she wanted her brother out of the house, and “Because I’m an evil bitch”.

There are many more cases where this came from, but we will end with a woman who claims to have been falsely accused of a relatively minor crime. The reader will have to make up his own mind from this hour long video, but the case of Wanda Davenport is sadly typical in the United States where corrupt police officers regularly railroad people from certain socio-economic backgrounds just because they can. If the reader is inclined to think that is some kind of exaggeration, he should check out the murder of the clearly unarmed Daniel Shaver by the trigger happy Philip Brailsford along with the many videos uploaded to YouTube by ordinary citizens that expose this perfidy and brutality which not only Colin Flaherty but Donald Trump continues to ignore.


Alice Mock, False Confessions, Thomas Quick, Wanda Davenport, Wayman Cammile, William Lott

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author avatar VennerRoad
Independent researcher based in South East London.

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