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Well, I'm not quite sure how much I'm adding to the content of this page; however, I'm hoping to spark some further discussion on this topic.
There just seems to be something wrong with the whole plea-bargain concept.
Case 1: You let someone off easy because it's cheaper than actually going through a trial, or you need their cooperation to catch a bigger fish in the pond.
Case 2: Someone who's innocent, pleas guilty to something they didn't do because they can't afford to risk being found guilty and having to face to full penalty.
This seems like a lose-lose situation. Either we (society in general) lose because we're letting a guilty person get off lightly, or an innocent person loses because can either plead guilty to something he didn't do, or face the consequences.
Occasionally there arises a situation where someone who is guilty, pleas their way to a reduced charge by testifying against someone who is innocent.
I realize that no system is perfect,...
You seemed to have lived on both sides of the academic line for quite a while. If you were in charge, what would you change to make the transition from student to have-to-make-a-living-employee (or the transition back to grad school) easier? After I got my B.A. I wanted to go out into the real world as soon as possible. I've found that my friends who are still in school just don't know what the real world is like, and aren't prepared for it (I know I wasn't four years ago!).
What scares me even more is that employers today are looking for very specific skills, and could care less about overall knowledge. "We aren't interested with you abilities to plan, design, and implement data structures, we're looking for someone with five years experience programing in this brand of that language for an OS that's only been around since last October, because that's what I read in a magazine." --You'd think that someone would know that in 1997 no one has five years of experience with ...