Plea Bargains : Common Practice Essay

Plea Bargains : Common Practice Essay

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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 criminal defendants plea out, rather than go to trial (Alschuler1979). Pleas are used to negotiate sentences and charges to reduce the time and money associated with going to trial. This idea of bargaining has been used in courts for decades. Some would say it dates even as far back as the 12th century, in the form of Hammurabi’s code. As explained by Scott, Robert E. and William J. Stuntz, the defendant forfeits his/her right to go to trial for his/her charges, while in turn, the prosecutor gives up their option of seeking the most serious charges possible and the highest consequences (Scott, Robert E. & William J. Stuntz, 1992). As stated in Bibas, prosecutors have incentives to reduce the number of cases on their desk (Bibas 2004).
Because prosecutors wish to lighten their work load, this can be understood that prosecutors want to lessen their work load, get paid quicker, and go home to their family. This is primarily because prosecutors are paid on a salary basis. Because they are not paid ...


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..."plea bargaining" practice disposes of a remarkably high percentage of cases (White, 1972 Pg 439).
All points that have been mentioned are agreeably summarized in this quote from White. Plea bargains can be an effective tool in aiding both defendants and lawyers. Plea bargains are used to give a defendant a speedy and fair trial, and they are also used to help lighten lawyers’ case load. Too much congestion can result in an infringement of the client’s rights. Although some people think that plea bargains are a slippery maneuver to avoid trial, whether the defendant deserves it or not. As more and more cases develop and close, plea bargains are the one aspect that will not go away. An improved understanding of the way the justice system works is the only way for defendants to insure that they have a say in their case, and that they are not just pawns in a power trip.

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