What it means: A plea that does not admit guilt, but acknowledges that the prosecution has enough evidence to convict the defendant. It differs from nolo contendere (no contest) pleas in that courts consider an Alford plea one type of guilty plea. A nolo plea is not a guilty plea -- so an Alford plea counts toward three-strikes laws, and a nolo plea doesn't. In many states, lawyers use the Alford plea as a procedural method of postponing a trial until charges are eventually dismissed.
How you can use it: When you're busted.
Has anyone been paying attention to this case in Ohio where the parents stand accused of keeping their 11 adopted children in cages? Their "mother" is pleading not guilty, on the grounds that the children asked to be kept in cages.
My friend Joseph's Boston terrier, Milo, actually does like to be in his crate -- but 1) he is a dog and 2) he is a little emotionally disturbed, due to an unpleasant experience in his early doghood that we don't like to talk about. So unless these children were left alone in an apartment with their dead first owners for some period of time (that's what happened to Milo), I'm not buying this argument.
But this was the most disturbing piece of information in the article I read:
Sharen Gravelle said she met her husband in 1986 at a dinner for a child sex abuse support group. She said she was attending because a relative had been molested. Michael Gravelle was there because he was accused of inappropriate touching, a charge he denies. The couple married two months later.
...and this wouldn't have come up in the adoption home study?