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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77519 Find in a Library
Title: Suggested Guidelines for Plea Bargaining
Journal: Texas Bar Journal  Volume:41  Issue:4  Dated:(April 1978)  Pages:363-368
Author(s): T L Jacks
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper proposes some suggested guidelines for implementing the mandates of the Texas legislature with regard to plea bargaining while still retaining the traditional roles of the judge, prosecution, and defense in the criminal justice process.
Abstract: For a number of years, plea bargaining was not specifically recognized in Texas. However, in 1977 the legislature expressly recognized the propriety of plea bargaining when it amended the code by adding provisions applicable to the plea of guilty or nolo contendere. It remains unclear whether the trial court is obligated to inquire into the factual basis or the reasons for a plea bargain. Therefore, the Texas courts must establish their own methods of implementing plea bargaining agreements. Several guidelines are proposed herein to facilitate this process. The guidelines are not intended to encourage plea bargaining, to be considered exclusive procedures for acceptance of a guilty plea, or to be considered as formal rules of court. First, after a case is set for trial, any and all plea negotiations should be concluded and the court notified in writing by the defense attorney not less than 7 days before trial. Also, if it is determined that a plea bargaining agreement exists, the court will make further inquiry concerning the terms of the agreement and will require a full disclosure reduced to writing and signed by the attorneys of record. The disclosure should include such information as all known pending charges against the defendant, current arrest record, planned dispositions of codefendants, and proof that the victim and/or investigating officer were notified of the trial date. Furthermore, after a disclosure has been made and the court has concurred in the plea agreement, the offense report, oral testimony of the investigating officer, and defendant's confession should be offered into evidence. Full disclosure is required; if it is not provided the trial judge may reach an independent decision on final case disposition without regard to the plea agreement. Fifth, the plea agreement tendered, the reasons therefore, and the disclosures contemplated by these guidelines should be evidenced by written document or motion signed by the attorneys of record. A plea agreement form is included.
Index Term(s): Criminal proceedings; Defendants; Equal Protection; Federal Code; Plea negotiations; Pleas; Standards; State laws; Texas
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