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NCJ Number: 50091 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: PLEA BARGAINING - A USEFUL TOOL IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS (FROM CRIMINAL JUSTICE ISSUES - PROMPT TRIAL, 1978, SEE NCJ-50090)
Author(s): G N BASHARA; S C GARDNER
Corporate Author: Citizens Research Council of Michigan
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Citizens Research Council of Michigan
Detroit, MI 48226
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: PLEA BARGAINING IS EXAMINED AS ONE WAY OF HANDLING THE LARGE VOLUME OF CRIMINAL CASELOADS, AS A COST-EFFECTIVE PROCESS, AND AS A TECHNIQUE FOR ASSURING FAIRNESS IN COURT TRIALS.
Abstract: THE PLEA BARGAIN INCLUDES BOTH CHARGE BARGAINING AND SENTENCE BARGAINING. PLEA BARGAINING IS DEFINED AS THE PROCESS WHEREBY THE DEFENDANT AGREES TO PLEAD GUILTY OR NO CONTEST AS PART OF AN AGREEMENT WITH THE COURT OR PROSECUTOR. THE USUAL EFFECT OF SUCH AN AGREEMENT IS THAT TRIAL IS AVOIDED AND THE DEFENDANT'S POTENTIAL PUNISHMENT MAY BE FIXED WITHIN CERTAIN BOUNDARIES OR AGREED UPON WITH SPECIFICITY. CHARGE BARGAINING OCCURS WHEN THE DEFENDANT WAIVES HIS OR HER RIGHT TO STAND TRIAL IN EXCHANGE FOR A REDUCED CHARGE. SENTENCE BARGAINING OCCURS WHEN THE PROSECUTOR AGREES TO STIPULATE TO OR RECOMMEND A PARTICULAR SENTENCE TO THE COURT IN EXCHANGE FOR A PLEA OF GUILTY. IF PLEA BARGAINING IS PROPERLY PRACTICED, A BARGAINED PLEA SHOULD ACCURATELY REFLECT THE POINT AT WHICH EXPECTATIONS OF THE PROSECUTOR AND THE DEFENDANT INTERSECT AND THE SENTENCE OR CHARGE SHOULD BE REDUCED PROPORTIONATELY TO THE PROBABILITY OF CONVICTION. PLEA BARGAINING CAN ELIMINATE THE COSTS OF TRIAL AND MAKES THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM APPEAR MORE CERTAIN AND FAIR. THE MOST WELL-KNOWN ADVANTAGE OF PLEA BARGAINING IS THE REDUCTION OF COURT CONGESTION. COMPUTER SIMULATION OF THE PROCESSES IN THE DETROIT (MICH.) RECORDER'S COURT SUGGESTS THAT IF PLEA BARGAINING WERE ELIMINATED, 70 JUDGES (THERE WERE 20 IN 1977) WOULD BE REQUIRED FOR TRIALS ALONE. CRITICS OF PLEA BARGAINING FALL INTO TWO CATEGORIES: PERSONS WHO BELIEVE PLEA BARGAINING DEPRIVES THE DEFENDANT OF IMPORTANT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND PRESSURES THE INNOCENT DEFENDANT TO PLEAD GUILTY, AND PERSONS WHO BELIEVE THAT THE DEFENDANT IS GETTING OFF TOO EASY WITH A REDUCED CHARGE AND SENTENCE. THERE ARE, HOWEVER, SOME PROTECTIVE DEVICES BUILT INTO THE PLEA BARGAINING SYSTEM TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT DEFENDANT FROM BEING PRESSURED INTO GUILTY PLEAS. UNLESS THE PUBLIC CAN BE CONVINCED THAT BENEFITS ASSOCIATED WITH TRIAL ARE EQUAL TO COSTS, PLEA BARGAINING WILL CONTINUE TO BE AN INTEGRAL AND EFFECTIVE PART OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. CASE LAW AND FOOTNOTES ARE CITED. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Cost effectiveness analysis; Defendants; Michigan; Plea negotiations; Rights of the accused
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50091

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