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Crim Class 11.doc

Course Code
LAWS 2301
Ronald Saunders

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Criminal Justice System November 25, 2011
Class 11
Plea Bargaining
Types and definitions/elements
Advantages: main/ratio issue accused, prosecutor, society
Criticisms and issues
Contentious – don’t know a lot about it
Most result in guilty plea instead of going to trial
We don’t know the extent of plea bargains that result in plea bargaining and vice
Control and accountability
Different terms for plea bargaining (resolution discussions etc)
Not a true bargain – judges may not accept and accused is pressured to accept
Quotes about Plea Bargaining
Plea bargaining is the venereal disease of the criminal justice system
Plea bargaining is the grease that jeeps the justice system running
Plea bargaining is inevitable in any system of justice
Plea bargaining has no place in a decent criminal justice
What were doing is treating people as half guilty and giving them half the sentence
they would really receive if they were really guilty
Express Plea Bargaining (exam essay)
3 constant elements:
Always a guilty plea
Bargain granted only if accused agrees to plead guilty in exchange
Bargain is result of express negotiations
Variable elements:
Where/when? – often just before trial
Most are last minute deals
Can be done until entering of the decision
With whom? – usually the prosecutor
May sometimes involve police
In the States it involves the Judge
Victim involvement is rare
Why? – advantages/disadvantages
What? – benefits given in exchange for a guilty plea
Benefits most often Given (What)
Reduction in charge to a lesser charge (murder 1 to murder 2)
Withdrawal of charges/promise not to proceed on possible charges
Recommendation as to type of sentence (fine or probation instead of jail)
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