The New York Times reported last week that a mentally retarded woman who pled guilty to murder for helping to kill her sisters newborn baby was released, after her appellate lawyers showed that her sister’s fallopian tubes were cut years earlier. The victim, it seems, never existed.

Nonetheless, the prosecution charged this woman with capital murder, and she pled to 15 years, saving herself a life sentence and possibly the death penalty. Is this supposed to be a good deal? There are supposed to be defense lawyers and judges who make sure that vulnerable people aren’t railroaded into false guilty pleas. Clearly, the system is broken. We need a better law enforcement system, not more severe laws. Prosecutors can use the severe laws we have to bully the weak and innocent.