Withdrawn plea a step toward justice | PostIndependent.com

Withdrawn plea a step toward justice

Ninth District Judge T. Peter Craven cast a correct ruling last week when he allowed Shane Nicholson to withdraw a guilty plea entered last year on a drug possession charge.

Nicholson’s defense attorney said he would never have entered the plea on Nicholson’s behalf had he known the arresting officer had his own prior conviction for official misconduct.

Judge Craven didn’t dismiss the charge against Nicholson, but the 9th District Attorney’s office must start over in pursuing its case against the Silt 19-year-old.

Craven’s ruling in the Nicholson case is the first in what could be 190 cases to come under review, as a result of the district attorney’s office’s apparent mishandling of information that questions the credibility of former Silt police officer Michael Williams.

It will be a ponderous task for the DA’s office to work through all those cases again, on top of the existing caseload. DA Mac Myers might wish he was prosecuting Kobe Bryant instead.

The job has got to be done, however. Some defendants may not be guilty of the charges they were convicted on, and they deserve to have their records cleaned.

The trick for the DA’s office will be to separate the cases where punishment is still justified and those where charges may have been unfairly leveled.

It’s the only way to restore faith in our criminal justice system.

Post Independent Editorial Board: Valerie Smith, Heather McGregor, Dennis Webb

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