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Opening Arguments

Guilty but innocent

Everybody says this case, in which a judge ordered a defendant who had pleaded guilty to fondling a girl to go to the newspaper and admit he lied when he told a reporter that he had not fondled the girl, is unique. It's new to me, too, but I've been covering politics so long that I'm not exactly shocked that someone might not tell the complete truth to a newspaper. Something called the "Alford plea," which I had not heard of, is mentioned:

Bradley noted that the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 1970 ruling, held that a defendant may plead guilty to a crime while professing their innocence. Such a plea, known as an "Alford plea," is allowed in federal courts and in many states, including the four that border Indiana.

But Indiana has not allowed Alford pleas since a state Supreme Court ruling in 1953.

The logic of the Alford plea escapes me. "Nolo contendere" I get. "I ain't sayin' I did it, but go ahead and punish me and let's get this over with." But "I plead guilty, but I didn't do it"?