The Pros and Cons of Plea Bargaining
1. Introduction to plea bargaining
Plea bargaining is the process of negotiating a sentence between a prosecutor and a defendant in order to avoid going to trial. This process can be beneficial for both parties involved; the defendant avoids the risk of a harsher sentence if convicted at trial, and the prosecutor saves time and resources by not having to go to trial.
There are two types of plea bargains; charge bargain and sentence bargain. In a charge bargain, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge than the one they are originally charged with. In a sentence bargain, the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence than they would receive if convicted at trial.
The Constitution and plea bargaining
The Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy and public trial by jury, as well as the right to Due Process of Law. However, plea bargaining does not guarantee either of these things. In fact, plea bargaining can often lead to defendants pleading guilty even if they are innocent, because they are fearful of facing a harsher sentence if they go to trial.
Plea bargaining can also be used as a tool of racism, as prosecutors may be more likely to offer plea bargains to defendants of color in order to get them to plead guilty and avoid going to trial.
Police and plea bargaining
Plea bargaining can also be used as a tool by police officers to obtain confessions from suspects. Suspects may be pressured into pleading guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence, even if they did not commit the crime.
This can lead to innocent people being convicted of crimes they did not commit, simply because they felt pressured into confessing during plea bargaining.
The justice system and plea bargaining
Plea bargaining can have a profound effect on the criminal justice system. When defendants plead guilty through plea bargains, they are giving up their right to a trial and due process. This means that prosecutors have less work to do, as they do not have to go through the process of taking the case to trial.
However, it also means that defendants who may be innocent are more likely to plead guilty, simply because they are afraid of receiving a harsher sentence if they go to trial. This can lead to injustice within the criminal justice system, as innocent people may be convicted while the real criminals go free.
Plea bargaining is a complex issue with many different facets. It can be beneficial for both defendants and prosecutors, but it can also lead to injustice within the criminal justice system. It is important to consider all sides of this issue before making any decisions about whether or not plea bargains are fair or constitutional.