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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 52164 Find in a Library
Title: PLEA BARGAINING REVISITED
Journal: STATE COURT JOURNAL  Volume:2  Issue:4  Dated:(FALL 1978)  Pages:13-18,38-40
Author(s): D C DODGE
Corporate Author: National Ctr for State Courts
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: National Ctr for State Courts
Williamsburg, VA 23185-4147
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 78-TA-AX-0012
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: MYTHS SURROUNDING PLEA BARGAINING ARE EXAMINED, THE ACTUAL OPERATION OF THE SYSTEM IS EXPLORED, AND SOME SUGGESTIONS ARE MADE FOR REFORM. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT SOME FORM OF PLEA BARGAINING IS INEVITABLE.
Abstract: BOTH SIDES OF THE ARGUMENT FOR THE ABOLITION OF PLEA BARGAINING ARE EXAMINED. THE ARGUMENT THAT PLEA BARGAINING IS RESORTED TO BY OVERWORKED COURTS IS FOUND TO BE INVALID. THE NUMBER OF CASES SETTLED THROUGH NEGOTIATED PLEAS BEARS NO RELATIONSHIP TO THE SIZE OR WORKLOADS OF COURTS. INSTEAD, IT IS A FUNCTION OF THE ARREST AND INDICTMENT PROCESS. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT OPPONENTS OF PLEA BARGAINING ASSUME THAT THE CRIME CHARGED WAS COMMITTED, THAT THE PROOF NECESSARY FOR TRIAL EXISTS, THAT THE EVIDENCE IS LEGALLY ADMISSIBLE, THAT THE FINDER OF FACT WILL BE PERSUADED, AND THAT THE ACTUAL PUNISHMENT FOR A MORE SERIOUS CHARGE WILL BE GREATER THAN THAT FOR A LESSER. NONE OF THESE ASSUMPTIONS ARE NECESSARILY TRUE. EXAMINATION OF ACTUAL CASES SHOWS THAT CASES MOST LIKELY TO BE NEGOTIATED ARE THOSE WITH WEAK EVIDENCE, RELUCTANT WITNESSES, AND DUBIOUS CHANCES FOR SUCCESSFUL PROSECUTION. SINCE CHARGES CAN BE REDUCED, BUT NOT INCREASED, WITHOUT ADDITIONAL PAPERWORK, 'OVERBOOKING' IS COMMON. THESE PROCEDURES ARE CONSIDERED AN INVITATION TO PLEA BARGAINING. TABLES SHOW THE PERCENTAGES OF CASES NEGOTIATED IN SEVEN CITIES. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PLEA BARGAIN RATES AND TRIAL RATES IS EXAMINED, AND IT IS CONCLUDED THAT PLEA BARGAINING DOES NOT NECESSARILY REDUCE TOTAL TRIAL RATES. PLEA BARGAINING IS CONSIDERED TO BE INEVITABLE IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM AS CURRENTLY STRUCTURED. HOWEVER, PLEA BARGAINING NEEDS TO BE REFORMED BY ESTABLISHING CLEAR GUIDELINES, REDUCING OVERBOOKING, AND MAKING REALISTIC EARLY CASE ASSESSMENTS. REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Plea negotiations; Pleas; Prosecutorial discretion; Prosecutorial screening; Reform
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=52164

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