This is a rather interesting bit of reasoning by a blogger who has examined various estimates of wrongful conviction rates.
quote:The overall wrongful conviction rate for trials (judge and jury trials combined) is found to be 11.1%. [...] The Fraction Guilty values allow us to easily calculate the number of people who were actually guilty and the number who were actually innocent during state trials in 2004, at least for the crime categories considered. If we take one more simple, distressing step, we will reach a shocking, appalling conclusion. If we divide the number of wrongful convictions by the number of people who were convicted (4,168 / 10,998), we see that an innocent person who goes to trial stands a 38% chance of being wrongfully convicted.
His reasoning for his base 'wrongful conviction' rate are interesting.
It is rather scary to contemplate.
So say you are innocent and facing a trial with a 20 year sentence if convicted, but you are offered a plea bargain of 5 years, with the possibility of parole after 3 years. Based on this you should take the plea bargain since on average you will spend almost 5 years less in jail than if you go to trial. (.38*20 = 7.6 years; 7.6 - 3 = 4.6 years saved).