skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 62581 Find in a Library
Title: LETTING LIGHT INTO PLEA BARGAINING
Journal: JUDGES' JOURNAL  Volume:16  Issue:3  Dated:(SUMMER 1977)  Pages:38-42
Author(s): W A KERSTETTER
Corporate Author: American Bar Association
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Association
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: AN EXPERIMENTAL PRETRIAL SETTLEMENT PROCESS IN WHICH THE JUDGE, PLAINTIFF, DEFENDANT, AND VICTIM PARTICIPATE IS DESCRIBED; THE PROCESS IS SEEN AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO TRADITIONAL PLEA BARGAINING ARRANGEMENTS.
Abstract: PLEA BARGAINING AS A SIGNIFICANT MODE OF CRIMINAL CHARGE DISPOSITION IS UNDER SUSTAINED ATTACK, PARTICULARLY BY THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMISSION ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE STANDARDS AND GOALS. THAT ORGANIZATION HAS RECOMMENDED THAT SUCH NEGOTIATIONS BE ABOLISHED NO LATER THAN 1978. DESPITE SUCH CRITICISM, MOST PRACTITIONERS BELIEVE THAT PLEA BARGAINING IS A NECESSARY EVIL FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE. THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE HAS FUNDED THE TESTING OF A PRETRIAL SETTLEMENT PROCESS THAT ADDRESSES MANY OF THE CRITICISMS LEVELED AT PLEA NEGOTIATIONS. THIS PROCESS INTRODUCES A STRUCTURE FOR THE PRETRIAL SETTLEMENT OF CRIMINAL CHARGES WHICH PROVIDES AN EXPANDED ROLE FOR THE JUDGE AND THE DEFENDANT AND AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE VICTIM AND THE ARRESTING OFFICER TO PARTICIPATE. THIS IS ACCOMPLISHED BY REQUIRING THAT ALL CHARGE AND SENTENCE NEGOTIATIONS TAKE PLACE WITHIN A FORMAL CONFERENCE PRESIDED OVER BY THE JUDGE AND ATTENDED BY KEY PARTICIPANTS, THE PROSECUTOR, AND THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY. THE PROCESS IS CURRENTLY BEING TESTED IN DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA; A TEST COHORT OF 480 CASES WILL BE SELECTED OVER A PERIOD OF 9 MONTHS. IN A TYPICAL CASE, AFTER THE FELONY INFORMATION IS FILED, THE CASE APPEARS ON A JUDGE'S ARRAIGNMENT CALENDAR. AT ARRAIGNMENT, THE JUDGE INFORMS THE CONCERNED PARTIES THAT THE CASE HAS BEEN SELECTED FOR THE PRETRIAL SETTLEMENT PROCESS AND A CONFERENCE DATE IS SCHEDULED, USUALLY 1 WEEK AHEAD OF THE TRIAL DATE. NO STATEMENT MADE DURING THE FREE-DISCUSSION CONFERENCE IS ADMISSIBLE AT A SUBSEQUENT TRIAL, SHOULD SETTLEMENT EFFORTS FAIL. THE VICTIM'S COMMENTS ARE GIVEN THE MOST WEIGHT AS THEY RELATE TO THE SPECIFIC FACTS OF THE CASE AND TO THE ISSUES OF RESTITUTION AND COMPENSATION. IF A DISPOSITION IS AGREED UPON, THE DEFENDANT WILL PLEAD GUILTY IN OPEN COURT. IF PRETRIAL SETTLEMENT FAILS, THE CASE WILL GO TO TRIAL. EVALUATION OF THE SUCCESS OF THE PROCESS WILL FOCUS ON JUSTICE, VICTIM SATISFACTION, DUE PROCESS, AND SYSTEM EFFICIENCY. REFERENCE FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED IN THE ARTICLE. (LWM)
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; National Advisory Committee Criminal Justice Standards and Goals; National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice; Plea negotiations; Pleas; Pretrial hearings; Pretrial procedures; Standards
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=62581

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.