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Plea bargaining is the process involved in a criminal justice administration and the prosecutor and the defendant engage them in mutual understandingand keenly negotiate a plea with the defendant pleading guilty to a particular charge with expectation of a concession from the prosecuting party(Maynard,1984). A plea that is usually a feedback to a claim by the prosecutor is common in the adversarial system of jurisdiction especially under common law. It tries hard to comprehend the interest of economy of jurisdictionsince it avoids the court trial. It also provides the defendant an opportunity to serve as a witness of other criminal offences and in return for a bargain (Heumann, 1981).
Differences between charge bargaining and sentence bargaining
In charge bargaining the accused, that is, the defendant finds a way in which he or she pleads to a crime that is not as severe as the original charge(Fisher, 2004). The charge that the defendant pleads guilty of is seen as less serious than the original charge. For instance, a person may be charged of driving when drunk leading to over speeding and having no evidence during trial, he she decides to reject the charge on being drunk and plead guilty of over speeding. The overall reason behind this is to bring down the penalties of the original charge to the less severe penalty. In this case of alcohol brow the defendant weighs the two charges and decides to go by the lighter charge. However, the two charges must be related and be occurring simultaneously for a mature charge bargain.
Sentence bargaining on the other hand involves the defendant assumes a guilt position without contesting for plea after the parties agree on the on the kind of sentence the prosecution recommends(Heumann, 1981). The prosecution then influences the judge not to administer the sentence that he or she had planned for that particular crime.
Advantages and disadvantages of plea bargaining
The process is very lenient to the defendant (Maynard, 1984). This is due to the fact that the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge than the one that could have been tried for. This element of trial leads to less severe punishment. Secondly, this process leads to high levels of convenience since it takes away the stress and questions besieging the jurisdiction. It eliminates the elements of anxiety that involves great contemplation on whether one will be found guilty or innocent.
The judicial systems are usually clogged with several cases and in deed others are not found to be as serious as they appeared(Maynard,1984). By adopting a plea bargaining procedures, cases are closed easily and quicker by adopting pleas hence reducing congestion in court rooms.
Plea bargaining mostly works in favor of the prosecutor. This advantage ranges from the time factor, reduced resources to be used in the case and win of their confidence hence remaining the outstanding prosecutor whereby he fails to give unnecessary reports over his prosecution coverage(Heumann, 1981). Plea bargaining assures the prosecutor of a direct win.
Another advantage of a plea bargain is that the defendant is in a position to conceal other crimes other than the one(s) he or she pleaded guilty of(Heumann, 1981). This is due to the fact that the entire judgment no longer needs the sequential investigations as opposed to an instance where the defendant fails to admit the criminal offence(s). This means that the case can never get to its worst or worse than the way the defendant presented it.
Plea bargaining always brings about the sentence period to its minimal(Fisher, 2004). Due to the fact that the defendant already accepts the criminal offence and the charges as outlined the prescribing judge decides to reduce the sentence as requested by the lawyer on the defendant’s side and therefore no features of maximum sentence.
Bargaining a plea paves a way for other criminal offences that the members of the jury may have lacked any starting point to other crimes that are related to the crime that the defendant has pleaded guilty. Therefore placing a plea by the accused can aid in investigating other related crimes. The process finally finds itself in aposition to solve other cases in line with the case at hand and saving more time.
Disadvantages of plea bargaining
Taking a plea is an easy way and hence the defendant might be coerced to admit being guilt since anybody involved in a crime can take a plea(Fisher, 2004). Through this procedure, the innocent can lose a case even if it does not need any technical process of defending.
It hinders thorough investigations from being carried out since the investigators assigned a certain case become reluctant in carrying out their activities in belief that the plea must be reached at the end of the jurisdiction(McCoy, 1993).The ruling by plea never follow the truth and hence it is characterized by forced reality and ideals as opposed to the real judgment. The defendant is forced to admit being guilt that the prosecutor ever thirsts for so that he or she can open and close the file without much ado.
Justice is denied in several cases(McCoy, 1993). Victims who are affected by the crime are always with great expectation that justice will prevail. Upon a defendant taking a plea, their expectations are turned down and this leads to their loss of confidence with the states’ judicial system by the citizen.
In line with the constitutional demands for a clear jurisdiction, a thorough investigation is advisable prior to any ruling in a court. Therefore the judges tend to bleach the law and constitution in general by accepting pleas(Fisher, 2004).
Negative impacts of plea bargaining in crime control
Plea bargaining undermines the constitutional integrity of the judicial system. This is by allowing government to eliminate the required standards in imposition of the trial by the members of the judicial organs(Fisher, 2004). The process does not allow for a complete and quality investigation on the crime before the verdict is arrived at. The prosecutor who also assumes the role of the jury makes all the decision based on the chances of losing or winning. In so doing the verdict fails to hold with it the primary role of the judicial process and of the entire system.
It also provides the defendants or the accused with a room for escaping the punishment they are supposed to face (Fisher, 2004). They end up getting very lenient trials and thenceforth their preferred sentence. This is a factor that weakens the effect of the required punishment.
In conclusion, the procedures of plea bargaining are known to induce greater pain especially to the victims of a certain criminal offence who observe the defendant escaping punishment (McCoy, 1993).
Fisher, G. (2004). Plea bargaining’s triumph: A history of plea bargaining in America. Stanford, Calif: Stanford Univ. Press.
Herman, G. N. (2012). Plea bargaining. Huntington, N.Y: Juris Pub.
Heumann, M. (1981). Plea bargaining: The experiences of prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Maynard, D. W. (1984). Inside Plea Bargaining: The Language of Negotiation. Boston, MA: Springer US.
McCoy, C. (1993). Politics and plea bargaining: Victims’ rights in California. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.