When an individual is accused of a serious crime, the early stages of the defense process involve gathering all of the facts and evidence within the case. Defense attorneys make a thorough assessment of the evidence held by the prosecution, and make a determination about the likelihood of conviction should the case move forward. In certain cases, a high risk of a conviction makes a plea agreement an attractive option. An example is found in a recent case in which a Pennsylvania man was charged with federal firearms offenses.
Police were called to the man’s home on a report of domestic violence. When they arrived, they allegedly found approximately 20 homemade explosive devices. In addition, remote detonators, various precursor chemicals and a range of bomb-making literature were also reportedly removed from the residence. They also allegedly found literature that suggests that the man was part of a white supremacist organization.
Because the man is a convicted felon, he is prohibited from owning firearms or explosive devices. That led to federal firearms charges. As part of his plea agreement, the man admitted guilt to the charge of possession of a destructive device. In doing so, he will avoid more serious charges and will not have to stand trial in the matter. There is no report on what the sentencing process may yield.
In this firearms case, as in many others, the defense team assessed the full range of evidence, and made the determination that accepting a plea would be favorable to taking the matter to trial. Not only is a federal trial a stressful experience, but the outcome can never be certain. By taking this deal, the Pennsylvania man will know what he can expect from the sentencing process and can plan accordingly. Often, having that assurance is preferable to taking the risk of an unfavorable trial outcome.
Source: lancasteronline.com, “Plea entered after police report finding bombs in home”, Aug. 5, 2015