Running head: PLEA BARGAINING 1
Plea Bargaining 2
There is much criticism leveled at the legal system. But one feature of the criminal justice system poorly understood and unfairly judged by both the public and the media, is the process of plea bargaining. Because criminal defendants have no incentive to plead guilty as charged, and because the number of cases that would otherwise need to be tried vastly exceeds the resources available to try them, plea bargaining is a strategy used in avoiding total gridlock. Plea bargaining circumvents the trial process and dramatically reduces the time required for the resolution of a criminal case. As such, it greatly increases the number of criminal cases that can be processed by a court. Without plea bargaining, most criminal courts would become mired in the legal formalities required by trials, and case backlogs would increase substantially. Some say that plea bargaining is the criminal process equivalent to the out of court settlement of civil process (Schmalleger & Dolatowski, 2010).
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines plea bargaining as the negotiation of an agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant whereby the defendant is permitted to plead guilty to a reduced charge. This paper will address who benefits from plea bargaining, and does plea bargaining sacrifice the defendant’s rights or do the guilty benefit?
Plea bargaining is used to reduce sentences and receive lesser charges for a crime. There are however drawbacks from the use of plea bargaining. Some of these are things such as: an innocent defendant may be coerced into a confession and accept the guilty plea out of fear for a severe penalty if they are convicted. The second concern is that
Plea Bargaining 3 violent or habitual offenders may receive a lenient punishment and return to the...