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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78419 Find in a Library
Title: Plea Bargaining in the Free Enterprise System
Journal: Litigation  Volume:5  Dated:(Fall 1978)  Pages:27-31
Author(s): L M Natali
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Written for defense attorneys, this article discusses the ramifications, advantages, and disadvantages of allowing a client to enter a plea of guilty in exchange for a negotiated sentence; the legal and practical steps necessary to close the plea bargain are described.
Abstract: A guilty plea is a judicial confession to all or some of the charges in the indictment or information. If accepted by the court and found to be based on underlying facts, the plea terminates the case, and a verdict of guilty is entered. It is not constitutionally necessary that a defendant factually admit guilt, although many courts will not accept a plea unless the record contains such an admission. The most desirable type of plea bargain is one in which the defendant is guaranteed a maximum sentence. This is a constitutionally acceptable plea provided that the trial judge does not participate in the negotiation process. The most popular and widespread form of plea bargaining is the kind that results in the reduction of charges. While the defendant is not guaranteed the sentence that the court will impose, there is a kind of negative guarantee because the sentence cannot exceed the statutory maximum. Another form of bargaining, the plea of nolo contendere, disposes only of the criminal charges and has no effect on civil liability. This plea can only be entered with the consent of the court. To convince the prosecutor to agree to the plea bargain, the lawyer should emphasize the difficulty of proving the case, the time and expense of proving the case, and the financial or psychic burden on the prosecution's witnesses. Factors to point out concerning the client include the lack of a prior record and all mitigating or extenuating circumstances. The article concludes that no prosecutor will want to try a case if a reasonable bargain can be struck. No references are given.
Index Term(s): Attorney client relations; Plea negotiations; Rights of the accused
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