Plea-bargaining provides a fair and necessary form of justice in today’s criminal justice system. (either agree or disagree)
Plea bargaining is whereby the prosecutor and the defendant resolve issues out of court. In such cases, the defendant consents to plead guilty in the court of law and in return he or she is subjected to a light sentence. In plea bargaining, a criminal case can be concluded without a trial. In several cases, the defendant agrees that he or she will plead guilty even before the trial. If the defendant agrees to the terms of plea bargaining the prosecutor ensures that some of the charges related to the case are removed. Plea bargaining is authorized in court rules of many states. For instance in subsection (e) of the 11th rule of state laws there is an authorization of plea bargaining. In 11(e), the defendant and the prosecutor may come to a consensus the defendant will plead guilty and in return the prosecutor provides a dismissal of the charge(s) that the court recommended to the senses or agree that he will not oppose the defendant if he requests for the refusal of the sentence or change of sentence. It is the prosecutor who makes the decision on whether to go by all the rules of plea bargaining or to follow some of the rules.
In general, the judge agrees to plea bargaining in cases where the defendant makes an informed decision about it. For plea bargaining to be authorized, the defendant must understand the maximum sentence that he will receive after pleading guilty. Another thing is that the defendant must be ready to confess voluntary in the court of law (Boll, 2009). In cases where the defendant accepts liability, but there is no enough evidence, or the case lacks a strong ground, the judge may decline a plea bargain. The judge is not involved in verdicts concerning a plea bargain. In most situations, the prosecutor has the right to offer or decline plea bargain. As much as the prosecutor is involved in plea bargain decision making, he or she is not allowed to make decisions based on religion, race or social status.
Plea bargains benefits both the defendant and the prosecutor. Frequently, prosecutors may prefer plea bargain so that they save the court time that may be utilized on high priority cases. Plea bargain can also lead to a good relationship between the prosecutor and the defendant since the defendant admits that he or she committed the offence and agree to take charge of his or her actions. Plea bargaining to some extent reward the defendant for pleading guilty. Prosecutors agree to take part in plea bargains since the case will be critically analyzed and in the end the, pleading guilty is a must to the defendant since it is an essential part of the agreement. Plea bargaining is also beneficial to the prosecutor since it leads to conviction as the defendant must plead guilty (Turner, 2009).
Plea bargaining is a method that is applied widely in criminal law yet it not praised by many. There is a lot of involved since the prosecutor always emerges as the winner of the case. The problem with plea guilty is that there is a likely hood that the offender may get a lighter a sentence for the offence than that recommended by the law. Despite the agreement between the parties, most of the cases that are solved through plea bargaining often go unresolved. Some of the criminals find it fashionable to admit committing the crime and do not mind talking about the crime openly. As a result of the notable number of cases determined through plea bargaining, legal observers have begun to raise eyebrows.
Some argue that plea bargaining is not fair to the defendants. According to these critics, there is too much discretion since the prosecutors are involved in determining the charges that the defendant must undergo. Prosecutors are allowed by the law to level the charges if they have enough substantiation that the defendant actually committed the crime. Therefore, should the defendant be arrested, there is likelihood he or she will be charged and sentenced in court. Consequently, the prosecutor may suggest charges that will be faced by the offended without any doubts during a trial.
Since the prosecutors in plea bargaining face a high level of investigation, they will always try to apply all the possible ways in order to win the case. According to the critics, prosecutors do not offer that defendant an opportunity to provide evidence in the case. They are denied that right to the investigation so that in the end the prosecutor will emerge as the winner (Hamburg, 2008).
Another problem with plea bargaining is that some of the defendants agree to plead guilty due to the offers presented by the prosecutors. In most cases, the prosecutors make such offers but later withdraw them after winning the case. The defendant has the right to reject a plea bargain. In the case where the defendant rejects a plea bargain but on trial he or she is found guilty of the offence there is a great possibility of the punishment being more severe that the one offered in plea bargain. For instance, a person may be charged of trespassing but refuses plead guilty. After investigations, there is proof that the defendant really trespassed. In such a case, the prosecutor may also accuse him of attempted robbery and rape. In such a case, the defendant is charged with three trials making the punishment triple.
On average, a defendant who attends the trial and the court finds him or her guilty of a serious crime receives a more severe punishment (McConville & Mirsky, 2005). Defendants that are not under plea bargain are subjected to sentences that are much longer, but they are not punished for attending trial and pleading not guilty. In plea bargaining defendant have limited choices and in most cases they have to plead guilty, most of the crimes that they commit are charged without trial and according to some critics this is going against the law.
Some critics argue that plea bargaining is beneficial to the defendant. Since defendants in plea bargaining are offered a lenient punishment, most criminals are more likely to go for it since it offers them the power to bargain for a lesser punishment. In this case, the argument is based on the fact that criminal are likely to face a sentence that is favorable since they have a good knowledge of criminal justice system. The critics argue that defends are supposed to face punishment that matches with the offence that they committed. Punishment in plea bargaining does not match with the crime (Pohlman, 2005)
Plea bargaining is criticized by criminals and scholars. According to scholars, prosecutions of victims are in such a way that they receive a lighter sentence. People who defend plea bargaining are those that are defense system. They include prosecutors, judges, attorneys and defendants. They argue that plea bargaining should be part and parcel of criminal justice. Their defense is that there are limited resources and low funding for courts, therefore, there is need for plea bargaining I order to ease their workload.
Supporters of plea bargaining argue that there is need for it since defendants may face a harsh punishment for a light crime. According to supported prosecutors are not allowed to make a decision on a case trial. They are supposed to present the case in court and offer enough evidence in support of the charges. It is the decision of the judges as to whether the case needs to be listened to or dismissed. Hearing of the case is based on the evidence presented before the court. Plea bargaining protects defendants from being overcharged.
Plea bargaining supporters also argues that it not only beneficial to the defendant and the prosecutor but also benefits the whole society at large. This is because both the defendant and the prosecutor help to come up with appropriate punishment for certain crimes. Another benefit to the society is that it helps to save time that is used for trial thus in the end the resources are saved. Plea bargaining takes little shorter time since the defendant admits committing a crime and is not spared of the punishment. As much the punishment imposed on plea bargaining is less harsh than that of trial victims, there is a possibility of ending criminal behavior since prosecutors receive much more convictions (Kumar, 2009).
Plea bargaining is also beneficial to the defendants since it relieves them the burden of anticipation of prosecution out come. Before the trial, defendants are anxious to know their fate after trial; since plea bargaining takes lesser time, victims know their fate within a short period of time. Another advantage is that plea bargaining offers the defendant a less severe punishment than the one they would face if they chose full trial. The defendant and the prosecutor may also come to an agreement of dropping the case in exchange for something.
Another advantage of plea bargain is that the defendants have the right to decline the agreement. Some of the defendants opt to reject plea bargain in cases where the benefits of full trial outweigh those of plea bargain. There are those defendants who prefer going for a full trial as a way of expressing their feeling toward the case. Others prefer full trial because it offers them their constitutional rights.
There are circumstances where prosecutors decline plea bargain especially if the case would provoke public interest. For instance, in cases like rape, the prosecutor would prefer taking the defendant through full trial since the punishment for rape is severe (Herman, 2012).
As much as plea bargain may shorten the trial period and offer a less severe punishment. I would not support it since there is need for the defendant to exercise his constitutional right to full trial. Another reason for my opposition is that plea bargain may lead to manipulation where by the defendant may threaten the prosecutor if he or she does not accept plea bargain. Offenders need to serve a punishment which is equal to the crime committed and this is not so in plea bargain.
Boll, M (2009). Plea bargaining and agreement in the criminal process: a comparison between Australia, England and Germany.
Hamburg: Diplomica-Verl. Kobor, S. (2008). Bargaining in the criminal justice systems of the United States and Germany: a matter of justice and administrative efficiency within legal, cultural context. Frankfurt Main: Peter Lang.
Herman, G. (2012). Plea bargaining. Huntington, N.Y: Juris Pub.
Kumar, N. (2009). Guide to criminal court practice in Delhi. Delhi: Universal Law Pub. Co.
McConville, M. & Mirsky, C. (2005). Jury trials and plea bargaining : a true history. Oxford Portland, Or: Hart Pu
Pohlman, H. (2005). Constitutional debate in action. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
Turner, J. (2009). Plea bargaining across borders : criminal procedure. New York: Aspen Publishers.