Most cases are resolved through plea bargains. This is resulting from negotiations between the prosecutor and defense attorney. Plea bargains can be made at any stage of the criminal justice process. Plea bargains can be either a charge bargains or sentence bargains. There are advantages and disadvantages with plea bargains. With plea bargains, it can reflect the due process and crime control of the criminal justices. Plea bargain is an argument between the prosecutor and the defendant to plead guilty to a crime to receive a lesser charge or sentence rather than going to trial and getting a harsher sentence or charge.
These bargains are another way for the prosecutor to have the defendant to testify against other defendants on other cases as well as the trail they are in. Plea bargains are another way to help reduce cases from going to trial. Usually please bargains are between the council and the defense attorney but the judge can have a factor in it depending on the jurisdiction. They can work with the judge for a predetermined sentence. If the prosecutor goes back on the agreement, the defendant can ask the judge for relief.
The judge may use different tactics to go about this such as withdrawal of the agreement or have the prosecutor go through the agreement there are distinct types of plea bargain. Charge bargaining is the most common and used plea. Charge bargaining involve negotiating charges that would be filed. This plea bargain will be to lesser charges and the higher charges will be dismissed. Sentencing bargaining involves pleading guilty to the state charges and not to a reduced charge so that the agreement is for a lighter sentence. There is also a lesser used plea bargain called fact bargaining.
This bargaining uses certain facts in return to not use other facts in the case that would cause a different verdict. The plea bargain has to follow through with these knowing rights: a knowing wavier of rights, a voluntary wavier, and a factual basis to support the charges t which the defendant is pleading guilty. Plea bargaining is often criticized but the majority of convictions are due to bargaining. The benefits a plea bargains is there for the defendant. The defendant has this as an option instead of a trial, its uncertainties and to avoid maximum sentence.
For the courts it lightens their loads for the judges and the prosecutors. The disadvantages of plea bargains are for those who are innocent pleading guilty for a crime to avoid the harsher verdict if found guilty in a trial. The plea bargains require the defendants to give up their constitutional rights. Rights that are protected by the fifth and sixth amendment: the defendant will have to waive the right to a jury, the right against self-incrimination in the right to confront hostile witnesses. The plea bargains are accepted as long as the defendant understands the consequences and volunteers to do so.
Now if the defendant is coerced to do a guilty plea then it is unconstitutional. It also makes law enforcement and lawyers lazy in doing their job because it is an easy way out of not taking the time to investigate and to prepare a decent case. The due process makes sure that the defendant is receiving fair treatment while in the criminal justice hands. Plea bargaining reflects the due process because if the prosecutor has all their facts together, they can pursue a case to avoid the motions of a trial. The counsel allows the defendant the option of the plea bargain.
If accepted, their sentence is reduced. The crime control assumes all is guilty before court so the plea bargains will not likely to be used here. The crime control suggests everyone is guilty and they should be tried and punished before the court. Though they are on opposite ends, the due process and crime control model have benefits that all of the branches of the criminal justice can handle. To ensure those individuals are receiving fair trails, the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments are very valuable to the justice system.
According to FindLaw (2013), “Judicial economy simply means that one goal of the judicial system is to conclude cases in an efficient and speedy manner. Without plea bargaining, it is widely believed that there would be an explosion of cases which in turn would overtax and disrupt the current legal system. ” Plea bargains are a notion to a sure sentence. Going to trial can result in months or years of arguments, hung jury, and evidence being unaccounted for, and etc. Prosecutors prefer to settle cases with plea bargains than to juggle a verdict with a jury.
Courtney from Study Moose
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