NO EVIDENCE, NO JURY, NO JUSTICE
THE WRONGFUL CONVICTION OF JEREMY BARNEY
Contrary to the wishes of Jeremy and his family — who asked for a plea of not-guilty, and for the case to be taken to trial — Defense Attorney Steven A. Somerstein entered a plea of “no contest” and agreed to a bench trial (a trial in which there is no jury, only a judge).
Nothing in the case files suggests that Somerstein attempted to mount a defense for his client. Somerstein’s own notes amount to three hand-written pages. Additionally, he hired a court consultation service and one alleged expert on pedophilia. The former recommended a treatment program for juvenile sex offenders. The latter opined that Jeremy was in denial about his pedophiliac urges, but acknowledged that Jeremy’s denials could be explained by factual innocence.
At sentencing, Somerstein made multiple references to his client’s “guilt.” Somerstein also indicated that he had already discussed this “guilt” in earlier closed-door talks with both the prosecutor and the judge. [5A]
On 10 June 2005, the court proceedings lasted roughly an hour. Judged a remorseless child rapist, Jeremy was sentenced to maximum-security prison for twenty years.
Somerstein billed the Barney family in excess of $40K.