traffic tickets and lesser charges but NOT FBI searches

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    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Nisht wrote this and i felt it was important to respond because it really surprised me. I don’t think this is any part of what the mods didn’t like but i assume i’ll be corrected if i’m wrong….


    You’ve never pleased to a lesser charge in traffic court? That is standard practice outside of NYC. The cops issue trumped up tickets, wildly inflating charges, ncreasing the reported speed and giving multiple tickets for the same infraction using different code section s and then they offer a plea.

    Happens every single day. It is a revenue source for the towns that they don’t have to share with the state.

    These are only simple cases, but the same happens with all charges.

    no nisht, I have never pleaded guilty to something i didn’t do, nor not guilty to something i did, and i am confused (sincerely, not being argumentative) how that could be okay l’halacha. I have only been to traffic court once, when someone hit me, so it was a non-issue. but when my kid ran a stop sign, i instructed them to plead guilty, as they were indeed guilty and stating otherwise would have been sheker. i assumed all frum yidden did the same. BH my friends do. if it is, as you say, standard practice outside of NY then it thankfully hasn’t reached this far.

    im still not sure about how you would know the tickets are trumped up or whether or not they are giving multiple tickets but i also don’t understand how that impacts your obligation to be honest and stay away from sheker.

    Although i have never agreed with the tone you take toward others, i always thought of you as a yashar. this does not fit that picture at all and i am hoping you can explain it.


    Not sure what you mean not yashar?

    That I’ve accepted a plea deal offer by the prosecutor in traffic court? The same after almost all tithe other people in court?

    How do I know about this? Because I’ve and others I know have suffered going through this.

    But don’t you think the same happens in greater charges?

    Don’t you remember I’ll the commenters here and elsewhere saying that Sholom Rubashkin deserved the harsh sentence because he did not take a plea? Even though he was convinced that he was not guilty?

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    The same after almost all tithe other people in court?

    not sure how this is relevent in halacha

    How do I know about this? Because I’ve and others I know have suffered going through this.

    even by your own standards you know that did not answer the question of how you KNOW they do all that you accused them of but it still leaves the same question…How is this relevent in halacha?

    But don’t you think the same happens in greater charges?

    not sure this is relevent in what the halacha is for someone pleading in court. emes is emes. regardless of the others in line, regardless of the perceived crookedness of the police department and regardless where else it happens. why isn’t this obvious? I find this very unsettling.



    A traffic violation is not the same as possible embezzlement. A traffic offense is legally called a petty violation, basically there is a fine and thats all and the bar to commit one is quite low, Technically going 56 mph in a 55 zone is breaking the law and there are extenuating circumstances why one might speed, like you were going down a hill and acceleated.

    So plea bargining for a petty offense isnt hard to fathom

    However you really have to go far to be possibly accused of taking millions of dollars. If you were accused of taking a dollar or two, it would make sense to compare to a traffic violation, but we are not talking about offenses that could occur by accident like stealing a dollar or driving 56 MPH (in a 55 zone). This here is more like going 200 mph in a 30 zone.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    ZD, not necessarily. There could be huge amounts of money involved, yet the law is subject to interpretation, or, like your example of 56 in a 55 zone, mere technicality not usually enforced.

    Thanks for bringing this up; I wanted to respond to lesschumras on Rubashkin, which according to my understanding falls into this category. The bank knew what the business was making, and was not defrauded, except on a technical level.

    He still shouldn’t have done it, but they were out to get him.

    Please bargaining is not sheker; it’s striking a deal which benefits both sides. Nobody actually thinks you’re really admitting to that lesser crime. I heard of one case where R’ Chaim Kanievsky advised someone (who I think he assumed innocent) to accept a plea bargain to minimize the chillul Hashem which would have come out of a trial.

    I was once pulled over for a violation, and the cop wrote three summonses for one violation.

    It wasn’t near my home, but I was able to plead guilty by mail on one if they would drop the other. It’s doubtful that mine was a unique case, it seems to be standard procedure to trump up charges in order to get a guilty plea.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    thank you zd for derailing this thread back to where it was. i wasnt talking about the investigation or embezzling and throwing it back into the discussion means never really getting an answer. the topic here was supposed to be honesty and integrity but it seems its just easier to excuse ourselves while flattening others.

    bringing up rubashkin is always ridiculous. not one person in this coffeeroom has a clue to the real details and throwing the case around as an example just creates drama. that was one of the reasons i moved to a new thread.

    pleading guilty to a crime you did not commit, and pleading not guilty to a crime you did commit are sheker. nisht’s only defense was that everyone is doing it. saying that R’ Kanievsky chose pleading lesser to a chillul Hashem is SO FAR from a proof of pleading to be sheker that it is laughable. that is like saying that i know you should wash netilas yadaim by wiping your hands on trees because when we were in a draught that is what our rav paskened.

    its the same theme over and over again, the level of honesty and integrity expected and excused by posters here over the years is so drastically different from what i was raised with and live with in my community. the fact that people argue that they can’t even see the problem is something they may want to think harder about. the fact that embezzling and rubashkin were brought back into this thread means that none of my points will really be audible.

    and so it goes….

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    It’s not proof, true; your point about l’chatchilah vs. sha’as had’chak is a fair one, but the point is still true.

    Plea bargaining means accepting punishment A for crime B (or for the accusation). It does not mean admitting to crime A.

    When someone responds to a specific point, it doesn’t mean they have not heard other points. It only means they didn’t respond to it.

    I brought up Rubashkin here only because the other thread was closed, and wanted to dispel possible motzi shem ra. Don’t use that against me; that’s unfair.



    1) I did not bring the story of R Chaim.

    2) Did I say the person was guilty? Accepting a plea is often the best sure result to a situation. You are so concerned about it being dishonest. This a typical situation; you wee speeding at 12 miles over the limit. The officer writes a ticket that you were 21 miles over the limit and then throws in another ticket for unsafe driving and then yet another for reckless. (This is not hypothetical, this is exactly what happens). You have no way to prove otherwise, because most people do not have dash cams). The cop does not provide a receipt from the radar.

    What do you do?

    You can’t plead guilty to the charges, according to you that’s dishonest. And why would you want to. It expensive and it will increase your insurance and can put your license at risk.

    You have no way to prove your innocence.

    The prosecutors will offer a plea just to get the fine money and move things along. What would suggest a person should do?

    And I’ve seen bargains offered even in cases of DWI. And the judge was fine with it (I was shocked). (I don’t go to traffic court often, but I’ve been there several times, either on my behalf or to sit with other people).

    Now let’s extend to a more serious crime, such as embezzlement. There are many documented cases of people who have Ben improvement when there was an embezzlement, even though they were not the embezzler, but they had been an unknowing conduit.

    The person should plea guilty? Does that mean no one has the right to defend themselves against unsubstantiated claims, even if they may be true? How ridiculous.

    So the person can try to defend themselves, which will not provide a sure result and we are that people who try to defend themselves and are unsuccessful receive much harsher sentences. What to do?

    In addition, the costs of criminal or any legal defense are huge and easily crippling, besides all the other associated aggregation.

    So a plea deal for a lower offense, even when a person is actually not guilty of anything may be the smartest defense. Let’s hear you form a cogent argument that accepting a plea in such a case is wrong.



    There is a reason why there is supposed to be a jury trial. But being accused of something is far, far from proof that a person is guilty. Regardless of the extent of the crime.

    You afldvocate the police falsely issuing tickets just because it’s a lesser crime? Don’t you think they are more pressured to find someone when there is a more serious crime and that pressure will result in mistaken and or false accusations? It happens all the time. And for beating a dead horse, but that’s exactly want heap ended with Rubashkin, the reason for the raid resulted in him doing nothing wrong, so then they had to find other infractions to pin on. What he was sentenced for had nothing to do with raid, even if the prosecutors kept referencing the unproven allegations as the reason for harsh sentencing.

    It is unfortunate, but there is not much justice in the justice system.

    lebidik yankel

    My limited understanding is that entering a plea is not related to emes or sheker. It is a strategic move, no more, no less. The court is not a place where emes or sheker matter much, procedural rules are far more pertinent. The things one says in court are not meant to represent truth, and therefore its like playing poker – would one need to represent the truth there?

    Would someone actually advise a person to say the truth and run a strong risk of being put behind bars for ten years instead of copping a plea and paying 10K?


    And to clarify, ( and I’m not sure why) I am not advocating committing a crime, however, and I speak from specific knowledge aid actual cases, that does not mean a person will not be shlepped into such a situation.

    I was once on a grand jury. Which was one of the reasons I have such a bad taste for the “Justice” system. There is some minimal amount of proof that has to be brought for an indictment, yet the prosecutors knew hat you can indict a ham sandwich and seemed to be playing a game as to who can get an indictment with the least proof. And this was borne out by jury members saying ” well if they brought the person to the grand jury, they should be indicted.” They needed no proof at all.

    And the result is that person Is indicted when there is no proof, but that will have terrible repercussions. 1) the person has been indicted. 2) legal defense costs to the person will easily be in the high tens of thousands of legal fees to deal with the matter.

    I have seen this directly.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    The things one says in court are not meant to represent truth, and therefore its like playing poker – would one need to represent the truth there?

    Who’s, that’s taking things way too far. Of course you need to be truthful in court, despite the sad fact that lying in court is all too common.

    You are right about a plea being a procedural issue, though. Nobody thinks you are actually admitting to anything.


    Im going to hijack this thread since I dont kow how to start a new one. Sorry.

    In another, now closed thread, someone wrote:

    “What Dan lkaf zchus is there to a prosecutor? That he wasn’t intenyltionally malicious, perhaps.”

    Actually, yes.

    “Doesn’t mean you have to believe that the allegations against the defendant is true.”


    Which is why I wrote that the best thing to do in simply say nothing. If one of the sides asks you for your help, thats another story altogether. Consult your Rav for the halachic ramifications and a lawyer for the legal ones.

    OK. Back to talking plea bargaining.


    For the record, Pollard was actually a plea deal. There never was a trial in his case.



    So you are concurring exactly to what I have written on another thread.


    I guess I am. I was under the impression you were disagreeing with something I wrote. It seems you never disagreed. I maintained from my first comment that nobody should say anything because (forget dan lekaf zechus) all it is, is speculation which is pure rechilus.

    Avram in MD

    Syag Lchochma,

    [Quoting nishtdayngesheft]

    You’ve never pleased to a lesser charge in traffic court?

    no nisht, I have never pleaded guilty to something i didn’t do, nor not guilty to something i did, and i am confused (sincerely, not being argumentative) how that could be okay l’halacha.

    I don’t think nishtdayngesheft’s question implied pleading innocent when actually guilty, or pleading guilty when actually innocent. He seems to be referring to a case where a violation did occur, but it could be charged at varying degrees of severity. In that case, he is talking about requesting (or accepting when offered) a more favorable/merciful charge.

    but when my kid ran a stop sign, i instructed them to plead guilty, as they were indeed guilty and stating otherwise would have been sheker.

    From what he has written, I don’t think nishtdayngesheft would act any differently than this. What he seems to be asking is, if your kid had been charged with [attn CR lawyers, I’m making this up] 1st degree stop sign runnyness, which carries a fine of $1000, would you request that the court consider reducing the charge to 3rd degree stop sign runnyness ($250 fine), or if the court offered a plea bargain that if your kid admits guilt right away to the 3rd degree stop sign runnyness, they’d go with that and not pursue the 1st degree charge in order to save the court’s time? I don’t see how doing that would be sheker.

    im still not sure about how you would know the tickets are trumped up or whether or not they are giving multiple tickets

    The tickets/charges to give are largely at the discretion of the officer witnessing the violation. I once made a left turn at an intersection where left turns were not permitted during rush hour (I didn’t notice the sign on the power line), and the police officer gave me a written warning. In other circumstances, I could have gotten a ticket. Would you consider it sheker to politely request that the officer give a warning instead of a ticket?

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    thank you nisht and Avram. I appreciate the responses and clarification. I am still left with the same questions as so much of the response deals with whether or not I would want to be stuck with punishments or fines that are horrific.

    My point is that I don’t think the need to be honest depends on how much you have to lose. In such a position, r”l, the question wouldn’t/shouldn’t be “how do I get out of this bad situation” it should be “I wonder why Hashem put me in this bad situation”. I have never been taught that one can lie in order to get out of things, no matter how awful they are. That is not to say I wouldn’t ask a shaila, but that is about getting a heter, not about what qualifies as honesty.

    so I really refrained from responding because I found the responses so sad. I am surprised to hear people insist that what is at stake determines right and wrong.

    After reading Avram’s post, however, I would need to clarify something. posters have spoken of plea bargains as choice of punishment. As far as I know – and here is where I could be wrong – accepting a plea requires one to say “I AM GUILTY OF X” instead of “Y” in order to get that lessor punishment. If you are required to say, “I plead guilty of X” and you aren’t, that’s lying. if you are guilty of it, then go for it, why would you even be bringing it up in this argument?

    Same with asking for a warning instead of a ticket? why would you even ask if I think it’s sheker? How can that be sheker? is being honest really that abstract and murky of a topic? I don’t usually find that to be the case.

    Here it is in short – If you have to say, “I plead guilty to X” and you arent guilty of X, it is a lie and I don’t care how much it costs you. Take that up with Gd.

    Do you check boxes that say ,”Yes I have read the above material” if you haven’t? My son cannot get his license because he has to sign a sheet that he fulfilled the pre-requesits. one is that he drove 50 hours. Would you let your son sign it if he didn’t drive 50 hours? Some parents were fine with it. Some wouldn’t think of it. Is this really so “not on the radar”?

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    seperate post to nisht –

    your experience on grand jury duty sounds fascinating, I found your information to be helpful and I agree with you about the process. Just think what the jury duty would have been like out here in Illinois – home of the most corrupt politicians!

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    I was not thinking about (nor do I know) the specific wording used in a plea bargain.

    If your concern is the wording, where do we draw the line? We often use wording which doesn’t reflect reality. A rhetorically sarcastic comment, a story, a joke, a quote, etc., sometimes do not reflect reality in their words, but in context, are often used in a completely non deceitful way. How many people click “I have read and accept the Terms and Conditions” for a program installation or online credit card application without actually having read it?

    There are things mentioned here and in other discussions which I have specifically discussed with my posek, who said they are fine. I don’t think the implication that someone who doesn’t follow one particular mehalach is not a yashar is correct.

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