Plea-bargaining - Essay Example

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Plea-bargaining accounts for 90% of convictions in the US. Plea-bargaining is where the accused person pleads guilty in a negotiation with the prosecutor where concessions form the motivation for the bargain (Ross, 2006). …
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Download file to see previous pages The advantage of this system is that there is no need for a trial, a right that the defendant waives losing the chance for acquittal. However, the defendant “escapes” with a lesser charge than would have been the case had trial been done. The state saves on the cost of conducting a trial (Grossman & Katz, 1983). For the system to be operational, there are issues that are pre-negotiated including the reduction of charges, recommendations regarding the sentence itself or the guarantee that the prosecution would not oppose a request for probation. The process of plea-bargaining after the crime is committed and the accused person is arrested. The accused pleads guilty in exchange of an agreed sentence recommended by the judge. There are three types of pleas bargains. These are charge bargaining, count bargaining and sentence bargaining. The first type of bargain is where the defendant agrees to plead to a charge that is lesser than the one he is charged with. The second is where the defendant will have the number of charges that he faces reduced in number and the third is where the defendant simply pleads guilty with prior knowledge of what the sentence will be. The process of plea bargaining is a private matter where only the accused, the defendant counsel, the prosecutor and in some cases the judge may be in attendance. The offer of plea bargain is used to locate stolen goods, to help arrest other culprits or to know the location of a kidnapped victim or a killed individual. A plea bargain does not undermine the system of law. Although the facts indicate that the practice usually leads to reduced sentences to guilty parties without the process of trial, there are benefits that aid in offsetting the negative sentiments expressed in relation to the practice. There are many advantages to plea bargaining as there are disadvantages. Considering the success rates of plea bargaining compared to that of trials, the practice inadvertently aids in the reduction of criminals on the streets as well as guarantee speedy dispensation of justice (Goldstein, 1997). In exchange, the prosecution gets information that might be valuable to the conviction of more serious crimes or may get information that might be the missing link towards the conclusion of a case in a court or an investigation. There are instances where plea bargaining has been considered as lacking. The prisoner?s dilemma scenario plays out during plea bargains (Schulhofer, 1992). Consider two people who have been accused. The prosecution will attempt to unearth the facts of the case by offering a plea bargain to one party so that he can testify against the other party. Regardless of whether both parties are guilty or not, the person who confesses will give false information incriminating even those who may not be guilty in an attempt to get himself out of the larger sentence. Another scenario is when the defendant cannot raise bail. Such a defendant will plead guilty to the charges leveled against him regardless of whether he is guilty or not. Such a person considers the length of time that trials usually take and chooses to plead to a plea bargain that might present a lesser time than that which he would have faced awaiting trial. Some critics argue that plea bargaining does not always result in saving on costs (Kipnis, 1979). They consider that a prosecutor who has a remote chance of getting a conviction may enter a plea bargain with the aim of getting reduced time for the defendant. If such a defendant accepts the deal, he will increase the cost to the state as he will be catered for in a jail. On the contrary, if the trial had dragged on until the end, the defendant would have been acquitted and that would have carried no extra cost to the state. There are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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