False Confessions for Plea Bargains and Contrived Remorse
– two pillars supporting a legal myth –

There are two gestures in the American criminal justice system that carry great weight: the confession and proffered remorse. These are two pillars that support a misleading myth about our legal system. I have personal experience with both.

To avoid discomfiting “lines of inquiry” a Milwaukee criminal defence lawyer, Martin Kohler, spent 18 months attempting to coerce a false confession from me – a component of an intended plea bargain. His effort had the whole-hearted approval of the judge, David Hansher

Kohler’s efforts included a panoply of psycho-dark ploys, At one time I considered that Kohler must have been a student of Ivan Pavlov or the Okhrana or the NKVD. In fact, his methods derived from years of hands-on experience forcing plea bargains from his clients. In my relationship with him I came to understand that he was a weak man who, when in a position of power, had a natural talent for sadism. (He used my son as bait in his attempt to garner the plea bargain.)

And he was proud of that.

(This blog describes some of Kohler’s methods to coerce a plea bargain.)

Kohler’s obsession with obtaining a plea bargain arose from the pressure that he felt to spare colleagues from embarrassment and possible culpability for negligent conduct. A plea bargain was intended to avoid a line of inconvenient inquiry that could emerge at a trial, an unwelcome circumstance in Kohler’s lawyer circle.

One thing I am especially thankful for today is that I was able to resist Kohler. I pushed back his threats of extended incarceration at Waupun penitentiary. Confessing falsely and plea bargaining would have finished me spiritually, spinning me off into the realm of regret and the psychological afflictions that accompany self-betrayal. It’s an animal thing; it registers it the lower brain, surfacing occasionally in consciousness but dictating feelings and behaviour otherwise. Confessions, even when the product of deceit or coercion, are forms of domination that register in a victim’s psyche.

What I could not envision in my naivety at that time was that my refusal to plea bargain would fail to result in a trial with legal defence and the presentation of exculpatory evidence. Instead, Kohler punished me for my refusal to grant him his wish. He rigged the trial that I held out and so desperately worked for.

What is the allure of obtaining the false confession, both for low-class lawyers and perverted cops? Forced false confessions provide a perverse satisfaction for a type of individual deficient in – what can we call it– integrity? self-worth? A trait not lacking among basement level criminal defence lawyers and providing a sense of fleeting victory and domination, like winning a lottery. For a brief time such men walk with heads held high and no need for dildos to satisfy their women.

But resisting Kohler was half the battle. His legal side-kick, Judge David Hansher, also wanted his pound of flesh for my refusal to plea bargain. Knowing that he had allowed Kohler to conceal all defence evidence and block all defence witnesses at trial, Hansher then relied on falsified mental health reports to promote a contrived narrative for public consumption. He demanded that I display remorse in his courtroom for a crime that I had not committed.

Expressing remorse is the recommendation of every criminal defence lawyer even when it follows gross failure of the justice system. It is meant to placate the judge, who appears as the representative of the myth and must defend it … the myth that our system of justice is always just and has, once again, succeeded.

The availability of the legal appeal seems to absolve criminal defence lawyers of responsibility, as they turn their blind eye to illegal, unethical shenanigans and – step-by-step – turn ever more cowardly.

When Hansher demanded that I express remorse after being found guilty in the rigged trial (see details in blog), I again refused. (Lawyer Glynn advised: “Let’s not anger the judge.”) But I did. My reward from Hansher was a longer stretch in jail. And did I hear him mumble from the bench, “But where was the evidence?” Even at that early date he was preparing to throw Kohler under the bus for what he (Hansher) had encouraged allowed.)

Coerced false confessions, coerced plea bargains and phoney remorse expressed under the duress of further punishment represent fundamental failures of the American legal system, yet they are widely countenanced. They go largely unreported and deliberately concealed, as was done in this case by Milwaukee media. The myth has it benefits, which is why it prevails.

The wide ranging encouragement and tacit approval that coerced plea bargains get from lawyers is, in fact, a form of conspiracy to obstruct justice. Try coercion anywhere else and the criminal justice system can swing into action. Criminal defence lawyers rely on coercion for the plea bargain every work day, as they are exempt from accountability, like the Camorra in Naples and for surprisingly similar reasons.

I have spoken to men who were innocent of a criminal charge but were coerced to plea bargain. They deeply regret it.The trade off that they made, as appealing as it was at one time, bubbled up in the psyche like reflux from the soul, leaving a bad taste.

My life was also changed, to the point where I can’t stop publicly reminding Kohler and Hansher of what they tried to do.

A reader can help this author by telling others about this blog. (at markinglin.com)

See also Lawyers Broken Bad and Beyond Outrage




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *