A 20-year-old man pleaded guilty in Canton, Ohio, to charges arising out of the death of a teenager who was shot. He was given a sentence of 15 years on charges that included being in a criminal gang, a weapons violation and complicity in a felonious assault. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss pending charges of felonious assault and murder that could have resulted in even harsher penalties.
In court, the defendant's attorney stated that his client was a gang member but was not personally involved in the shooting that took the life of a 17-year-old male at an area gas station in April of last year. The prosecution alleged he was involved in the incident. The defendant is known in the community as an aspiring rap artist whose music videos were described as high-quality. They are popular on YouTube where thousands of people have viewed them.
Many criminal cases are resolved through plea bargains in which more onerous charges are dismissed in exchange for a guilty plea to a lesser charge. An experienced criminal defense attorney can advise their client on the strength or weakness of the prosecution's case and of possible avenues of defense and mitigation. Based on that information, a defendant is then able to make an intelligent decision as to whether to accept a plea bargain or to go to trial.
In the final analysis, any such decision is entirely up to the defendant, and defense attorneys are always ready to provide a vigorous defense if needed, making sure that their client's legal and constitutional rights are scrupulously respected.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Aspiring rapper sentenced in killing of teen" No author given, Aug. 26, 2013