Friday, January 07, 2011

Legal Definition: Alford Plea

Today's legal term defined: Alford Plea.

1. A type of guilty plea where the defendant asserts his or her innocence while admitting that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt

2. What you get when Orleans Parish Prosecutor John Alford goes to a bar in Wyoming.
When you've had a few too many, taking a taxi is usually a good idea.

But it's best to leave the driving to the cabbie.

Authorities in Wyoming say John Alford, an Orleans Parish assistant district attorney, didn't heed that advice while visiting the Rocky Mountain resort of Jackson. He ended up in a courthouse, accused of driving off behind the wheel of an empty taxi that had been idling in front of a bar Sunday night.

Alford, who appeared in court on Monday, didn't go far in the taxi, ending up at a hotel about a mile away, said Jackson police Sgt. Cole Nethercott.

When police tracked him down the next morning, Alford told them he didn't remember how he got back to his hotel because he had been intoxicated. However, Alford did tell police he didn't think he walked back, Nethercott said.

The taxi snatching was captured on video by a security camera at The Virginian, a hotel and bar where Alford had been hanging out.

The Jackson Hole Daily reported Thursday that Alford entered a not guilty plea on Monday to the charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle, which is a misdemeanor offense in Wyoming. He was not arrested, but was simply issued a citation, Nethercott said.

The Jackson newspaper contacted Alford at the Orleans Parish district attorney's office on Wednesday. He confirmed he was the man who appeared in court in Wyoming on Monday, the article noted.

Chris Bowman, a spokesman for the Orleans Parish district attorney's office, said Alford has kept the office "apprised of the situation." The office will wait for the case to be resolved before deciding whether any action should be taken against the prosecutor.
And the good people of New Orleans (all two dozen of them) wonder why so few of the criminals arrested in that city ever go to prison.

Well ok, there are other reasons, but still...

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