Plea-Bargains: Currency of the Courts An Examination of the Effectiveness of Plea-Bargain Within our Court Systems

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“Rahim Jaffer case heads for plea-bargain”; former Alberta MP Rahim Jaffer was being charged on cocaine possession and drunk-driving charges; his case was likely to be resolved with a plea-bargain agreement (Makin, 2010). This is but one case of many that are settled though a plea-bargain agreement. Plea-bargaining can take the form of a sentence reduction, a withdrawal or stay of other charges, or, a promise not proceed on other charges, in exchange for a guilty plea by an accused. During discussion of a potential plea bargain agreement, the Crown Attorney and defence lawyer will look at 4 distinct sections of a plea negotiation: charge discussions, sentence discussions, procedural discussions, and agreements as to the facts of the …show more content…
For a Judge, the incentive to accept a plea bargain is to alleviate the need to schedule a trial on an already overcrowded court docket, and in recognizing an already overcrowded prison system “processing out” the offenders who are not likely to serve a lengthy jail time anyways (“Findlaw,” 2012). Prosecutors have similar feelings as judges regarding plea-bargaining. Plea-bargaining lightens the prosecutor’s caseload while at the same time, assures a conviction of guilty offenders (even on a lighter sentence), particularly because of the high evidentiary burden in a criminal trial ("Enotes," 2012). Plea-bargaining has caused our judges to heavily rely on its use to keep the court system moving, as judges are able to dispose of cases more efficiently.

The importance of the efficient and timely disposition of criminal cases is best illustrated in the case of R. v Askov. Askov and the co-accused were charged with conspiracy to commit extortion (blackmail). There was a 4 year delay with the trial, which at the time, the accused had spent a considerable amount of time in jail. Askov argued under section 11 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that his right to a trial within a reasonable time had been violated. The trial judge agreed stating that there were no exceptional circumstance to why the accused right were violated and as such he dismissed the charge. The case was eventually appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada,

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