Plea bargaining is defined as the process of negotiating an agreement among the defendant, the prosecutor, and the court as to an appropriate plea and associated sentence in a given case. The advantage for the defense is that less work is required on their part and they typically receive the same amount of money in return. An advantage for the prosecutor is they get a conviction and can alter the sentence any way they see fit as well as maintain an acceptable conviction rate.
The court system heavily relied on the use of pleas to keep the system moving. In cases involving a plea the judge is able to dispose of a case quickly and move on to the next. In terms of jails and prisons plea-bargaining can also reduce the amount of inmate entering the facilities as jail time may have been suspended as a condition of a plea bargain. For a guilty defendant, the advantages to a plea bargain are clear; either reduced charges or a reduced sentence.
Sometimes a plea deal can reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor, but thats only a advantage to the defendant. Many plea deals have resulted in a reduction of sentence for the defendant. One gain in the plea bargain system is the fact that the judge in the case does not have to accept it. The prosecution can only recommend the agreement to the judge, but he cannot guarantee that the judge will follow it. As far as the victim goes, plea bargaining can give them closure to go on with their life and receive the justice they seek.
Some states have victims’ rights law that require a prosecutor to discuss the terms of any plea deal with the victim of the crime before making the offer to the defendant. In my opinion, plea bargaining is acceptable because it saves the system a great amount of time, money and resources only if it was entered with full knowledge and willingness. Even though the defendant in the end may not get a sentence agreed upon by others, they still have to serve time for their acts of crime. Plea bargaining is simply accepted because it’s a quick alternative.
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