Differences between different types of plea bargaining
The practice of plea bargaining is widely spread in the United States of America and is recognized as an integral element of the justice system. Despite the popularity of this phenomenon, its benefits are rather disputable ad gave rise to the continuing debates of the specialists working in this field. Though the practice of plea bargaining increases the efficiency of the investigation process significantly, it should be limited for preserving the important constitutional rights of defendants.
The two major forms of plea bargaining include charge and sentence bargaining. The first types presupposes prosecutor’s offer an exchange of a less serious charge for a guilty plea. The second type is associated with the promise of a more favorable sentence recommendation. “90 percent of all criminal cases are plea bargained” (Worall, 2010, p. 369).
Among the main arguments for implementing plea bargaining are the improved flow of the cases, the benefits for the defendants and the increased victims’ satisfaction. However, this strategy is also compliant with a number of negative consequences. “Some argue that plea bargaining is objectionable because it encourages defendants to waive their constitutional right to trial” (Siegel, 2010, p. 436).
Thus, it can result in false confessions in case if a wrongly accused individual does not believe in his/her chances for winning the case and considers the guilty plea as the only way out. Along with the practices of some states of banning plea bargaining for particular crimes or restricting the use of certain types of bargaining were rather successful and can help in observing the defendants’ constitutional rights.
Along with all the benefits of plea bargaining for the judicial system, it predetermines a number of disadvantages and should be restricted with proper regulations of the procedures.
Ad hoc plea bargaining
The term ad hoc plea bargaining is used to define a number of extraordinary concessions made by defendants. Among the most widely spread forms of this phenomenon is the performance of some act for dismissal or receiving a less strict sentence. Taking into account the implementation of unauthorized measures, the use of ad hoc plea bargaining should be restricted.
Taking various forms, ad hoc plea bargaining can either become violation of the legislative regulations or be beneficial for the community. The phenomenon is recognized as a rather controversial interpretation of the current legislation (Siegel, 2010, p. 435). Actually, the principle of ad hoc plea bargaining provides prosecutors with opportunities for free interpretation of the regulations and the implementation of unauthorized forms of charges and punishment.
While in some cases ad hoc plea bargaining can be beneficial for the community (such as making a monetary contribution to educational programs or labor of public utility), in other cases the prosecutor’s initiatives can take more extreme and inadmissible forms.
For instance, in the case Ryan v. Common on Judicial Performance, the criminal charges were dismissed from a female defendant because she had exposed her breath (Worall, 2010, p. 369). Though cases of such extreme violations are no so frequent, the use of the strategy should be restricted.
Taking into account the human factor and the associated forms of prosecutor’s unauthorized initiatives, the use of ad hoc plea bargaining should be restricted for preserving the constitutional rights of defendants, on the one hand, and observing proper trial procedures, on the other hand.
Siegel, L. (2010). Introduction to criminal justice. (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Worrall, J. (2010). Criminal procedure: From first contact to appeal (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.