When I read of criminal cases in the news, it seems like the defendants routinely plead innocent even when the evidence against them is overwhelming and conviction seems like a near certainty. Why do they do this?
The possible explanations I could think of:
(1) Judges like the attention so they give pretty much the same sentences no matter to encourage long trials that "justify" the judge's employment. In other judges are not rewarded for processing cases faster so they have no incentive to discourage pointless trials.
(2) Defense attorneys encourage defendants to plead innocent because the attorney will make more money from a trial than a guilty plea.
(3) Defense attorneys like the publicity they get from high-profile trials.
(4) Sentencing guidelines result in more or less the same sentences no matter what, so the defendant may as well plead innocent, since he has nothing to lose.
(5) Defendants plead innocent out of desparation.
(6) Defendants are always absurdly over-charged, so they are hoping to get found innocent of some of the crazier charges.
Obviously these are just some of the explanations. Anybody got insight on this?