In federal cases, victims have a “right to a reasonable communication” with prosecutors and the right to be notified of any transactions. But prosecutors must weigh a host of other factors including the strength of their evidence, the interests of justice and assurances that similar criminals will be subject to the same punishments. A plea agreement can ensure that the accused suffers some consequences, even if the victim considers them too lenient, while a trial can lead to a complete acquittal. And, prosecutors do not represent victims.
“If you are a federal prosecutor, your client is the United States of America,” said Michael J. Moore, an Atlanta attorney who served as U.S. attorney for the state of Georgia from 2010 to 2015. “The That line, when you are a victim of a crime, can become blurred. There is a human side to you that is very sympathetic to the victim’s plight, and then there may be a more academic and professional aspect, and professional obligation, that will guide your behaviour. “
Sometimes the victim takes the side of mercy. When Dylann Roof killed nine members of a predominantly black church in Charleston, SC, federal prosecutors succeeded in seeking the death penalty despite the church’s objections to the punishment. death.
In the Arbery case, Travis McMichael, 36, his father Gregory McMichael, 66, and a third man were charged with murder and convicted in state court. Federal prosecutors pursued other charges, including hate crimes and kidnapping conspiracy charges. Georgia had no hate crime regulations at the time of Arbery’s death.
Vance, a former prosecutor, said the agreement that federal prosecutors reached in the Arbery case was a good one. She said that hate crimes are difficult to prove at trial. The agreement ensures that the two men, Travis McMichael, 36, and his father, Gregory McMichael, 66, will serve a substantial period of time even if their sentences in state court are overturned. on appeal, and that prevents them from appealing the federal case. “It is a belief that will last for all time,” she said.
In court, the Arbery family at least opposed the deal in part because it would allow McMichaels to serve a sentence in federal prison, which is generally considered to have better, safer conditions than state prisons. This may be especially true in Georgia, where last fall the Justice Department opened an investigation into state prisons, citing high murder and assault rates.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/02/us/ahmaud-arbery-murder-plea-deal.html How a plea deal in the Arbery hate crime case was unraveled