The words “plea bargain” may create thoughts of lazy prosecutors accomplishing an easy conviction. The words “plea bargain” may create a sense of fairness and second chance to a defendant. Plea bargains create controversy and stir emotions of victims and defendants. The words “plea bargain” are used in 90 out of 100 criminal trials. Plea bargains are embedded in our criminal justice system. There are many questions concerning plea bargains. It is time to enter the world of plea bargaining and explore the positive and negative effects.
Webster defines the word plea as a humble request for help from someone in authority. Webster defines the word bargain as an agreement between parties. The plea bargain is often offered by a prosecuting attorney in a criminal case. The plea bargain is an agreement for the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge or the current charge in exchange for a lesser sentence. The plea bargain could be initiated by the prosecutor or requested by the defense. The key to a plea bargain is the party’s agreement. The party’s lack of agreement will result in a trial.
Plea bargains will generally come in three flavors. The first type of plea bargain is charge bargaining. Charge bargaining is the process of the defendant pleading guilty in exchange for a lesser charge. Charge bargaining can reduce felony charges to misdemeanor charges. The second type of plea bargaining is sentence bargaining. Sentence bargaining is the process of a defendant pleading guilty in exchange for a lighter or lesser sentence. A defendant facing the death penalty may use sentence bargaining to receive a life sentence. The third type of plea bargaining is count bargaining. Count bargaining is the process of a defendant pleading guilty in exchange for other charges being dropped. It is time to discuss the negative and positive sides of plea bargains.
A plea bargain could be seen as a cost effective approach by the criminal justice system. A trial is known to take days or even weeks to complete. There are numerous recipients of tax payer’s money during a trial. The time and money can be saved by a simple plea bargain. The criminal goes to jail. The tax payers save money. Who would disagree? Did I mention victims? The victim could feel cheated by the plea bargain. The victim would like to see the defendant pay high prices for the crime committed. The criminal did not show mercy to the victim. Why should the courts show mercy to the criminal? Victims can feel betrayed by the plea bargain. The plea bargain can be seen as being soft on crime. The victim is not concerned with courts that have overcrowded dockets. The victim is not concerned with time and money. The victim is concerned with justice. The plea bargaining prosecutor can be the topic of controversy.
The prosecutors are generally elected to their positions. Prosecutors have to stand for election by their ability to win cases. There are many people who believe prosecutors misuse the plea bargain. Prosecutors want a conviction. A plea bargain, for statistical purposes, can be counted as a conviction. Prosecutors have lost elections for the inability to get convictions. Is the plea bargain a tool which allows a prosecutor better statistics? There are people who believe this theory. Plea bargains can benefit everyone. Do not throw away the plea bargain.
Plea bargains have many benefits. A plea bargain can be the right decision. The benefits of plea bargains outweigh the negative effects. The largest opponent to plea bargains is the victim. A victim is part of a case. A victim should have rights to protect against criminals. The victim should not be allowed to control the momentum of a case. The victim will be in an emotional state. A person in an emotional state should not be deciding the fate of other people. A plea bargain can be the best answer. There are many factors to consider. Plea bargains should not be handed out like business cards. It is time to make adjustments.
The plea bargaining system could use an adjustment. The courts should keep guidelines as a set standard for plea bargains. There are certain crimes which should maintain mandatory sentencing. There are crimes which allow room for adjustment. The judge should monitor the plea bargaining process carefully. The plea bargain should not be used to place the innocent and poverty-stricken individual behind bars. Plea bargains should not depend upon approval of victims. Plea bargains should not be used as a means to create statistics.
Plea bargains are necessary in the criminal justice system. Plea bargains create relief to the prisons, jails and court dockets. Plea bargains should be monitored and misuse should be addressed. The plea bargain will remain controversial. Plea bargains will have proponents and opponents. The plea bargain can add another leg to the body of justice creating a more stable stance against crime.