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Paper Topic:

Plea Bargaining - Positive and Negative View Points

Plea Bargaining

Its rewards , risks and responsibilities

Plea Bargaining is a heavily relied upon practice within the American judicial system . Despite its widespread use it still raises controversy Its proponents claim that the justice system would grind to a halt without it . Those who are against its practice believe that it is a shortcut that prevents justice for all the parties involved , including the alleged perpetrators of crime and the victims of crime . What is the relationship between plea bargaining and justice ? This is the difficult question that must be considered

when debating the various sides on the issue of plea bargaining

For the Prosecution

Plea bargaining is a practice that has stood the tests of time and legal challenges . A 1978 Supreme Court case , Bordenkircher v . Hayes , firmly established legal precedent relating to this practice (Sandefur , Its legality has been thoroughly adjudicated , turning back challenges at all levels of the judiciary

It is also a wholly necessary practice . The legal system will quickly grind to a halt in the absence of plea bargaining . States such as California and Texas are overwhelmed with so many cases it would be impossible to try every one and still protect the defendant 's right to a speedy trial . In that context , plea bargaining helps to ensure justice for the larger society

Counter argument

The plea bargain is not necessarily the prosecutor 's best friend . Public outrage about seemingly lenient sentences affects the prosecutor 's electability and ability to do his or her job . On the flip side extraordinary punishment for those who invoke their rights can be damaging to the reputation of the prosecutor 's office and reduce community cooperation with authorities , in general . Few prosecutors would admit to this practice , but evidence of it exists the less According to Timothy Lynch , Evidence of sentencing disparity .is today stark brutal and incontrovertible (2003

The prosecutor is also charged with upholding the rights of the accused This includes the right to a fair trial . A prosecutor 's office focused primarily upon expediency risks violating this right by pressuring individuals into taking plea deals

For the Defense

A plea bargain is often the end result of a no-win situation for the accused in a criminal case . Trial is a fundamental right of American citizens , but a shocking number of cases never get there

Why would so many people willingly cede this right ? One answer is that they are being pressured into doing so . Theoretically , invoking ones rights is not a punishable offense . In practice , things can be different . Plea bargaining rests on the constitutional fiction that our government does not retaliate against individuals who wish to exercise their right to trial by jury (Lynch , 2003

Plea bargaining often eliminates the judge , who is the only impartial figure , from the process of deciding sentences . The prosecutor wields an undue amount of power in these decisions as a result

Prosecutorial powers are enhanced to dangerous levels under plea bargaining . It is an enhanced power that enables...

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