Why John Spano May Have Entered A False Guilty Plea


San Jose, Calif., (April 2016)  The Strange Case of John Spano: Based on multiple in-depth interviews with John Spano conducted in an Ohio State prison Dr. John Brady delved into John’s recent (2015) criminal case revealing unique, new facts and psychological insights into the “real” reasons John Spano may have pled guilty to 16 forgery charges although he didn’t originate the crime plan. Mr. Spano withdrew his original not guilty plea, and instead pled guilty and was given a draconian 10-year sentence! How could this have happened? Was John a convenient “patsy” or even a scapegoat?

The Psychological Factors:

There’s no doubt that John Spano transgressed the law leading to two prior federal prison terms. And yet, that didn’t mean he was the mastermind of a third offense. John told Dr. Brady that, “I made a few mistakes before, but not this time.” John Spano, the big shot (The “Big Shot” title of a 2013 ESPN 30 for 30 film about John’s bank fraud to buy the New York Islanders hockey team) was, in Dr. Brady’s professional opinion, mentally confused, alienated and under psychological duress when he said “he did it.” Was John Spano a victim of what is called “The False Guilty Plea Syndrome?” Dr. Brady argues yes.

  • False guilty pleas may account for why up to 25% of all criminal defendants pressured into saying—“Yes, I did it!”—when, in fact, they didn’t! More than 25,000 people are currently in prison for crimes they did not commit.
  • Did John’s criminal stigma as a “bad actor” set him up to take a fall?
  • After reconsidering his guilty plea, why did the court rule against John disallowing him to get back his original not guilty plea and proceed to trial?
  • Prior to withdrawing from his case why didn’t John’s first attorney do what he was paid $75 thousand to do—challenge the aggressive prosecutor’s plea bargain offer and take John’s case to the jury-trial level?
  • Based on the forgery charges, why did the court refuse to take handwriting samples from John prompting the prosecution’s changing the criminal charges against him? It was evident that other people did participate in the forgery scheme, so how could the prosecution really know “who signed what?”
  • John’s own ex-FBI investigator felt he was definitely pressured and cornered by his attorney. Was John “verbally water boarded” into acceptance of a plea he knew to be false?
  • Why did the judge feel he didn’t need a reason to allow John’s original defense attorney to so easily withdraw from his case one week prior to sentencing? In fact, at that critical time, John was actually fired by his attorney!
  • Why was Dr. Brady’s psychological report not used and why did the judge not allow John’s Motion to Continue the case thereby providing more time for him to bring in new facts and witnesses?

The John Spano case is fully discussed in Dr. Brady’s soon to be released book, Men of Steal. In the book, Dr. Brady discusses additional cases where prosecutors and an unfriendly press jumped to guilty conclusions prior to getting “the facts straight!”

For more information regarding John Spano case and Dr. Brady, please contact: psych007@johncbrady.com