The Pros And Cons Of Plea Bargains

1252 Words6 Pages
Plea bargains are a common practice in the criminal justice system. It is what the lawyers on Law & Order love to throw out on a whim, multiple times in an episode. In reality, plea bargains are used to help avoid a lengthy and complex trial, while still serving justice and giving the public peace of mind. A common belief from viewers of law enforcement television shows and movies is that a plea bargain is an ‘easy out’ and should be the default choice. This is not always the case. In fact, plea bargains may not be as helpful as some people believes. Some people want to know, are plea bargains as useful as they once were? Or are they just used to inflate lawyer’s egos and propel a power trip? According to Alschuler, about ninety percent of…show more content…
Plea bargains are highly prevalent in the popular television series Law and Order. If a random episode is chosen, there is a high chance that lawyers in the show have offered a plea bargain. While many people would believe that media skews the public’s understanding of how often plea bargains occur, however, this is actually an appropriate representation. According to Heumann, approximately 10% of criminal cases actually continue on to trial (Heumann, 1975). Similarly, as stated by Menkel-Meadow, plea bargains are the reason why there may be congestion in the courts, but a low number of criminals are actually jailed (Menkel-Meadow, 2005). There has been some speculation regarding if plea bargains are effective or not, in regards to obtaining a desirable outcome. Some thoughts are that plea bargains are used to scare innocent defendants into pleading guilty. Another theory is that guilty defendants use plea bargains just to expedite their sentencing. As said by Chin, because there is the possibility of an innocent defendant pleading guilty, this merits an obligation to lawyers ensuring that the client understands the consequences (Chin

More about The Pros And Cons Of Plea Bargains

Open Document