Plea Bargaining: Justice or Injustice?Plea bargaining could be known as evil in the criminal justice system. Some pros and reasons why plea bargaining is used so much, is that it does reduce the overall cost of the criminal prosecution. It speeds up the trial process. prosecutors have more time for more serious cases. CITATION Sie15 l 1033 (Siegel & Worrall, 2015) For lesser, non-violent crimes, it can reduce the overall cost to the taxpayer, if the criminal does not have to go to jail or prison or receives a reduced sentence. Some people state that having the defendant avoid possible detention an extended trial may receive a reduced sentence, as a pro I would question this. I guess it is a pro for the defendant, but I would say that is a con for the victim. A plea bargain can give the prosecution an upper hand if the defendant is willing to speak out during the trial of a co-defendant. As for the cons of plea bargaining, it can allow dangerous offenders to receive a lenient sentence. Plea bargaining can convince an innocent person to enter a guilty plea so they then can receive a lighter sentence than the possibility of receiving a harsher sentence if the case went to trial. A major con of plea bargaining is what about the victim or the victim’s family? The prosecution only has to “confer” with a victim when it comes to plea bargaining. CITATION Sie15 l 1033 (Siegel ; Worrall, 2015) According to the Officers of the United States Attorneys’ website plea bargaining is “When the Government has a strong case the Government may offer the defendant a plea deal to avoid trial and perhaps reduce his exposure to a lengthier sentence.” CITATION Off l 1033 (Offices of the United States Attorneys, n.d.) Yet, according to the textbook, “Plea bargaining frequently occurs in cases in which the government believes the evidence is weak. Bargaining permits a compromise settlement in a weak case when the outcome of a criminal trial is in doubt.” CITATION Sie15 l 1033 (Siegel & Worrall, 2015) I would speculate that both are correct. I could see the prosecution attempting a plea bargain when the case that they have is weak. I can also see that when the prosecution has a strong case against a defendant but the prosecution wants a conviction for another defendant that the first defendant’s testimony would greatly improve the prosecution’s case against the second defendant. When the prosecution has entered the plea bargain the defense counsel is responsible for making certain that the accused understands the nature of the plea bargaining process and the guilty plea. The judge limits his or her role to approve or disapprove the plea agreement. A plea bargain for this crime could come out that the offender pleads guilty to a class 1 misdemeanor and only pays the fine, instead of also going to jail, wasting taxpayer money.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Offices of the United States Attorneys. (n.d.). US Attorneys – Justice 101 – Plea Bargaining. Retrieved from United States Department of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/usao/justice-101/pleabargaining
Siegel, L. J., & Worrall, J. L. (2015). Introduction to Criminal Justice. Wadsworth Publishing.