Plea Bargaining And Prosecutorial Discretion

1112 WordsJul 30, 20155 Pages
Plea bargaining and prosecutorial discretion are two crucial components in criminal procedure. The prosecution has leverage over which charges they wish to pursue against a defendant, while the defendant has the choice of adjudication of guilt. Being that time is a critical factor, each party has to weigh the pros and cons before making any decisions. The prosecution aims to enforce the harsher punishment where more time is served, whereas the defendant intends on serving the least time possible. Both subjects use strategically approaches that best benefit their party. Prosecutorial discretion abides by several guidelines and rules. As stated in the Supreme Court case, Brodenkirhcer v. Hayes (1978), “so long as the prosecutor has probable cause to believe that the accused committed an offense defined by statute, the decision whether or not to prosecute, and what charge to file or bring before a grand jury, generally rests entirely in his discretion” (Whitebread & Slobogin, 2008, p.591). Subsequently, nearly 75% of criminal cases presented in the federal courts result in dismissal; within state jurisdictions defendants are prosecuted 50% of the time. However, of those cases indicted, both federal and state, 95% result in conviction by guilty plea (Whitebread & Slobogin, 2008, p.592). Although, prosecutions ultimate goal is to impeach defendants perceived guilty, there are several things that prohibit them from doing so. The most common reason for non-prosecution being the

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