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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78720 Find in a Library
Title: Plea Negotiations
Journal: Criminal Law Quarterly  Volume:22  Dated:(December 1979)  Pages:58-73
Author(s): D W Perras
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 16
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: Approaches to plea negotiations in England, the United States, and Canada are reviewed, and typical arguments for and against plea negotiations are presented, followed by a proposal for the use of plea negotiations in Canada.
Abstract: The English position on plea negotiations is that it can be undertaken between counsel, that the defense must be free to do its duty, that the accused must have complete freedom of choice, and that counsel must have access to the court without the court's indicating the specific sentence. The American system of plea negotiations is governed by its Constitution and by the U.S. Supreme Court's position that plea bargaining is an essential element in the disposition of criminal cases. The problem lies in controlling the practice. The American Bar Association is apparently attempting to standardize the practice and procedures relating to plea negotiations. The Canadian position on plea negotiations is ambiguous, in that some courts suggest that there can be no plea bargaining and others state that judges cannot participate in or initiate plea negotiations. On the other hand, some courts are prepared to listen to joint submissions and, in the case of statutes with penal provisions, give effect to bargains struck by the prosecution with the accused. The typical argument against plea negotiations is that it undermines the integrity of the justice system by failing to charge defendants with the precise offense of which they are suspected and failing to use the adversarial process. Those favoring plea negotiations argue for its cost-effectiveness and flexible individualization of the justice process. Canada should adopt a controlled process of plea negotiations. It is the responsibility of counsel for the accused and the prosecution to discuss all aspects of the case and perhaps determine if there is some common ground upon which the criminal charge can be assessed and ultimately handled in open court without the necessity of a trial. Footnotes and references are not provided. The author is the Director of Public Prosecutions for Regina, Saskatchewan.
Index Term(s): Canada; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Plea negotiations; United States of America
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