Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More Szot

Today's Post-Journal has a story with a misleading headline. I won't really blame the P-J, as this is a common misconception.

The P-J posts that Mr. Szot "says he's not guilty." What actually happened is that Szot pleaded "not guilty" in an appearance in Chautauqua Town Court. I already discussed this briefly in a post back in February, so I won't elaborate too much. Basically, though, at this stage 99.9% of defendants plead "not guilty." For most, it's after this first appearance they'll obtain counsel, his/her lawyer will talk to the DA's office, paperwork will start to be generated, etc. It isn't entirely logical, but it's how the system operates. A plea of "not guilty" at this stage doesn't really say anything about the case or the defendant.

It is worth noting, though, that Szot has retained a firm that wrote (literally) the book on drunk driving defense.

ETA: Also worth noting, there's a not-subtle distinction between "prosecutor" and "persecutor" which the P-J might want to look into.


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