Jack Ford did not think he was committing a crime when his girlfriend let him spend the night with her at a house in Baltimore. However, what Ford did not know was that the owner of the house had not given permission for the couple to stay there. Ford was arrested and charged with burglary in the fourth degree, which is a misdemeanor in the state of Maryland. Ford’s attorney believed that Ford would have a strong case at trial because he did not know that he was not allowed in the house, so there was no intent to commit a crime. After a month in jail, the prosecution offered a plea to Ford: plead guilty to the burglary charge and leave jail immediately. Ford wanted to prove his innocence, so he refused to take the plea. Ford remained in jail as he waited for his trial, and he faced further delay as the prosecution struggled to bring the homeowner, the state’s only witness, to court. Eventually, Ford realized that a guilty plea would be the only way to get out of jail in the immediate future, so he admitted to committing a crime that he did not actually commit.
"Switzerland's "Summary Penalty Order" System: Should a Similar System be Used for America's Minor Crimes?,"
Notre Dame Journal of International & Comparative Law: Vol. 13:
2, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/ndjicl/vol13/iss2/7