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When dealing with the Criminal Justice system plea bargaining is something that is a common occurrence. When some type of a negotiation between the prosecutor and the defense attorney takes place and there is no trial, this would be considered a plea bargain. (Criminal Justice, Pg.454) Although the defendant does loose some of his constitution rights by accepting it, he does have some benefits. Plea bargains usually have some kind of reduction of the conviction or the sentencing.
Since the plea bargain is typically done under one of two ways, it is up to the prosecutor to decide which one they use. (Criminal Justice, Pg.456) After he examines the case, he uses his own judgment and experience to determine whether or not he has a chance of winning the case. If he feels that there is not a very good chance, then he may look for a plea bargain. The reason that prosecutors lower the charges or sentence is because they want to make sure that he gets some type of penalty, even if it is lower than what they initially wanted. (Criminal Justice, Pg. 456)
Another ways in which prosecutors go about the plea bargaining process is overcharging. Initially he may overcharge the victim, which will intimidate the defendant. (Criminal Justice, Pg. 456) When he feels the time is right, he will initiate a plea bargain. His intention was to make the defendant think that he was getting away with a better deal when he lowers the charges. (Criminal Justice, Pg. 456)
Many defense attorneys approach the prosecutor with a plea bargain that pleads guilty to a lesser charge. (Criminal Justice, Pg. 457) Most of the time they initiate the bargain because they are trying to stay away from a higher charge. (Criminal Justice, Pg.457) The defense attorneys have to make the decision of what plea bargains to initiate and also, which ones they will accept. Sometimes the defendant is charged with many counts of the same crime. In this case, a plea bargain may be very helpful. Most likely if a plea bargain was initiated then the charges would be dropped down. (Criminal Justice, Pg. 457)
Sometimes judges are prohibited from dealing with the plea bargains and other times they may choose not to have anything to do with it. Although when they do, it is very little. The prosecutor and the defense attorney propose the bargain, but the judge may decide to decline it. He must look at both sides and determine if the prosecutor is asking too much or if the defendant isn t asking enough. (Criminal Justice, Pg.458) As a judge states on page 451 in Criminal Justice, The ultimate sentencing prerogative and duty are mine. Even if judges do not verbally state their opinion of the bargain, they can have some ability to change it. The judge decides the sentencing dates. If he doesn t give them very much time, they may not be able to initiate and agree on a reasonable plea bargain. (Criminal Justice, Pg.458) Some judges may require a meeting, in which he discussed the plea bargain with the defense attorney and the prosecutor.
As you can see, even when there is no trial there is still work to be done. Through the plea bargaining process the defense attorney, the prosecutor, and the judge all have an essential part of the process.
Reference: Criminal Jstice, Regoli, Robert M, & Hewitt, John D, copyright 1996 by Prentice-Hall, Inc., Pages454-458)
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