plea bargain

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plea bargain

n. in criminal procedure, a negotiation between the defendant and his attorney on one side and the prosecutor on the other, in which the defendant agrees to plead "guilty" or "no contest" to some crimes, in return for reduction of the severity of the charges, dismissal of some of the charges, the prosecutor's willingness to recommend a particular sentence, or some other benefit to the defendant. Sometimes one element of the bargain is that the defendant reveal information such as location of stolen goods, names of others participating in the crime, or admission of other crimes (such as a string of burglaries). The judge must agree to the result of the plea bargain before accepting the sentence. If he does not, then the bargain is cancelled. Reasons for the bargaining include a desire to cut down on the number of trials, danger to the defendant of a long term in prison if convicted after trial, and the ability to get information on criminal activity from the defendant. There are three dangers: a) an innocent defendant may be pressured into a confession and plea out of fear of a severe penalty if convicted; b) particularly vicious criminals will get lenient treatment and be back "on the street" in a short time; c) results in unequal treatment. Public antipathy to plea bargaining has led to some state statutes prohibiting the practice, but informal discussions can get around the ban. (See: plea, cop a plea)

References in periodicals archive ?
The plea deal was offered because of a clause in the probation terms where he needed to submit to random drug testing for six to nine months.
The Canadian singer and and Miami Beach prosecutors will not strike a plea deal and sources connected with the case say a trial is now almost certain, TMZ.
His wife Elaine said "however upsetting" a plea deal was, it marked the beginning of his "swift and safe return" to the UK.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that 34-year-old Mason Mayer pleaded guilty Friday to a reduced charge of misdemeanor false imprisonment under a plea deal with San Francisco prosecutors.
NCR made its first calls to the Reno and Las Vegas dioceses July 10 asking about Cracchiolo's role at the conference after learning that he had accepted a federal plea deal in 2009 stemming from charges that he was part of a plan to defraud investors during his time at a medical device company in California.
FORMER death row inmate Kenny Richey has agreed a plea deal over accusations he threatened a judge who prosecuted his original case.
He was initially charged with six felony counts, including rape and sodomy, but the charges were later reduced under a plea deal made in part to spare the teen the ordeal of a trial.
The plea deal will save Hor and Amera Akl from life sentences.
Summary: Lindsay Lohan is apparently thinking about taking a plea deal in her court case, after initially saying that she never would.
Khadr admitted to the killing of Army Sergeant 1st Class Christopher Speer as part of a plea deal that was announced to the court on Monday.
The reality TV star will serve a year of probation, and do 200 hours of community service to avoid a felony conviction under the terms of a plea deal worked out with prosecutors on Friday.
citizen living in Novato, California, pleaded guilty to a single conspiracy count in a plea deal that could reduce his prison sentence in return for continued cooperation.