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A plea bargain is a treaty offered by a prosecutor as a spur for a defendant to plead guilty (Cornville & Mirsky 269). There are two types of plea bargains; charge bargain and sentence bargain.
In charge bargain, the prosecutor allows the defendant on a slighter charge or to various charges that are filed against him. For example, a businessperson may be charged with operating a business with an expired license and selling expired commodities. He may be allowed to plead guilty to operating an illegal business.
A sentence bargain happens when a defendant is aware of his sentence and pleads guilty. In such a case, the prosecutor can get a guarantee where the defendant is acutely in front of a maximum sentence. The prosecutor might have fear of the media (Cornville & Mirsky 272).
Should plea bargaining be abolished?
Plea bargaining should be abolished. In some countries, plea-bargaining is constitutional an example being in the Supreme Court. Most of the courts require a guilty plea to be made in an open court. The judges do advise the defendant of his privileges and the possible penalty of waiving them (Cornville & Mirsky 287).
The argument behind this is that most of the guilty pleas produced by plea-bargaining are not voluntary. Some innocent defendants may appear guilty. Some defendants feel that they have lacked otherwise but to plead guilty even though they have legitimate defenses. The pressure exposed to the defendant makes the right to trial sad and hollow (Heumann 112).
Another criticism concerning the guilty plea is that it forces innocent defendants to appear guilty at the expense of guilty criminals who get off on lighter sentences. Those prosecutors who carry many cases may find it easier to cut the deals to avoid trials (Cornville & Mirsky 272).
Plea bargaining brings some inequalities. Defendants from different backgrounds receive starkly different treatments; this may happen because they are charged according to different jurisdiction (Heumann 176). The present discretion that is at the center of the judicial system is that it is prone to racial discrimination and many forms of bias.
There is a lot of privacy in plea-bargaining. They try as much as possible to avoid public view. They do so to avoid confrontation between constitutional doctrines and daily law enforcement practices. Most of the prosecutors settle cases whereby the legality of the police is going to be challenged (Heumann 199). For example, a traffic offense took place where a driver was caught driving on the wrong side of the road, when the driver was asked for his driving license it showed that it had already expired. The police officer saw what appeared to be some sort of illegal brew in his car, on further examination the officer found some unused cans of alcohol and a sizeable amount of narcotics. The police officer asked for “something small” and the driver refused to give it. He was directly taken into the hands of the law. During the day of prosecution, he was given plea bargaining and was told to, “Confess of having cocaine and attempting to bribe an officer.”
From the above explanation, it is evident that the judiciary cannot accept the public to view plea-bargaining because the public will question the credibility of the police and their operation (Heumann 201).
Suggestions have been made and it has been an ever-continuous debate over streamlining trial procedures and whether plea-bargaining could be abolished. However, the American criminal justice system relies greatly on it. A future crime can be prevented especially to those guilty criminals who receive plea bargaining and pretend to be innocent (Heumann 209).
Cornville, Michael and Mirsky, Chester. Jury trials and plea-bargaining: a true history. Nairobi. Hart Publishers. 2005. Pg 264-89,
Heumann, Milton. Plea Bargaining: The Experiences of Prosecutors, Judges, and Defense Attorneys. Chicago. University of Chicago. 2007. Pg 109-213.