Plea Bargains Essay

1840 Words 8 Pages
A plea bargain (“offer”) is an agreement in a criminal case whereby the prosecuting agency may offer the defendant the opportunity to plead guilty, usually to a lesser charge or to the original criminal charge with a proposal of a lighter than the maximum sentence. This opportunity allows defendants to avoid the risk of a conviction at trial on a more serious charge. This also allows all involved parties to keep the court’s calendars light without exhausting resources of a court, potential public defenders, and prosecutors who are all salaried for by the expense of tax payers. If every case in the criminal justice system went to trial, the courts would be so overloaded that they would effectively be shut down.
An offer can occur at any
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Prosecutors may only "recommend" to the court the acceptance of a plea arrangement. The court will usually take proofs to ensure that the above three components are satisfied and will then generally accept the recommendation of the prosecution. The court uses the plea bargaining process as a way to alleviate the need to schedule and hold a trial on an already congested court calendar. Judges are also aware of jail/prison overcrowding and may be receptive to the "processing out" of offenders who are not likely to do much jail time anyway.
For prosecutors, a lightened caseload is equally attractive. Most importantly, an offer assures a conviction, even if it is for a lesser charge or crime. This ensures that the prosecuting agency keeps its statistics looking good, and keeps the confidence alive inside the community. No matter how strong the evidence may be, no case is a predetermined conclusion. Prosecutors are often at risk of waging a long and expensive trial with a chance of losing, similar to that of the O.J Simpson murder trial.
Prosecutors may use plea bargaining as means to advance their case against a co-defendant. They may accept a plea bargain arrangement from one defendant in return for damaging testimony against another. This way, they are assured of at least one conviction even if it’s a lesser charge with the enhanced chances of captivating a conviction against the second defendant.
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