I recently read Jeffrey Archer’s novel “A Prisoner of Birth”. The novel could have been much better if it had an original plot – instead of borrowing the plot of “The Count of Monte Cristo”. But this post is not about the novel. It is about an interesting issue that I thought was worth pondering over.

At one point in the novel, the protagonist is falsely accused of a murder. Most of the evidence is against him and the jury is expected to pronounce him guilty. The prosecution makes him an offer to plead guilty and his lawyer advises him that he could get off with a two year sentence for manslaughter instead of a twenty two year sentence for murder. The protagonist immediately refuses.

What would you do? And why?


2 Responses

  1. If I had no intention of continuing to live in society, I would take the two years, come out, have my revenge and escape. Since most people don’t plan to do that, “reputation” becomes very important. But even in such a case, most pragmatic people would take the reduced sentence. That’s what plea bargaining is all about – sending innocent people to prison without proving their guilt by putting them in an extremely difficult position. But the idealist won’t do that. Better be convicted while maintaining one’s innocence than when accepting that one has committed a crime. That would be his position.

    Actually I would take the two years even if I were planning to continue living within society. The reason is very simple. The real world is no place for the idealist. Given the cynicism that pervades society, most people would call someone who doesn’t accept the lighter sentence a fool.

  2. Freedom is crucial for a man’s existence. He can do anything (fight, run, lie, disagree to give-in…) to have his freedom.

    To me there is more freedom being in world out here than in a prison. So, 2 it is.

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