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Plea Bargaining

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Plea Bargaining

Plea- Bargaining has been part of our court system for decades. It can be dated back to the early 1920's (O'Keefe, 2010). Plea- bargaining can be defined as the process whereby a criminal defendant and prosecutor reach a mutual satisfactory disposition of a criminal cases, subject to court approval (Dictionary, 2013).The supreme court originally found plea-bargaining constitutional in 1970 in the case of Brady vs. The United States. There are several reasons why SCOTUS found plea-bargaining constitutional but I would like to argue the idea that it is not in the best interest of our justice system. Plea-bargaining is less of a criminal element and more of a contractual element. It is a violation of the 5th amendment and it gives too much power to the prosecutors.

Unlike myself there are many people who agree with plea-bargaining. They say it shortens up court process and keeps courts from backing up more than they already do. People also make the claim that plea-bargaining is an effective way of making criminals confess to crimes. In the United States court system 96% of cases are settled with plea agreement (O'Keefe, 2010). However the problem with that statement is, out of the 96%, how many were coerced or false confessions? As far as the confessions and the sentences they take, though they are pleading guilty, any of these criminals are taking sentences that are lesser then what the crime itself might ask for. Another claim that supports the plea agreement is that there are not any other alternatives to plea-bargaining. Just because there is only one way of doing a certain thing does not give it the validation for it to be allowed. There may be some reasons for plea-bargaining to exist but lack of other alternatives should not be one of them. Even though research shows that 96% of cases end in plea bargaining, who's to say how many of those have truly guilty defendants?

When coming to a plea agreement there is usually three people involved. The three people involved are the prosecutor, the defendant, and usually the defendant's lawyer. This involves no judge or jury. The prosecutor has the power in this situation to offer a plea and also determine the type of bargain that he or she will offer. Trying to come to a fair agreement of a sentence in exchange for a guilty plea can be considered no longer dealing with criminal law and can sometimes pose as a problem when it crosses the line to contract law. The prosecutor's job is now to come to a fair agreement with the defendant in a way that does not involve too much negotiation. (O'Keefe, 2010). With this being said, the question arises on whether or not it is in the best interest of the defendant an the court system to have the prosecutor make the call on the plea bargain.

In the constitution the due process clause falls under the 5th amendment. This clause guarantees ones rights



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