plea bargain

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Related to Plea negotiation: Plea agreement

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 ?
By utilizing plea mediations instead of plea negotiations, the system could reap the benefits of enhanced communication overseen by a neutral presence employed specifically to lead the parties toward a mutually agreeable disposition.
103) An innocent defendant may be compelled to enter into plea negotiations if presented with insurmountable evidence against him, and, therefore, be forced to enter a guilty plea to a lower charge to avoid the risk of a more severe charge resulting from a trial verdict.
Current ABA Standards Relating to Representation in Plea Negotiations B.
2(d) (1995) ("In conducting plea negotiations, counsel should attempt to become familiar with the practices and policies of the particular jurisdiction, judge and prosecuting authority which may affect the content and likely results of negotiated plea bargains.
50) Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy had no trouble identifying pretrial plea negotiation as a critical stage protected by the right to counsel.
of the law regarding judicial participation in plea negotiations as it
Additional interpreters during the plea colloquy and plea negotiations could have prevented Chin's and Leung's unwitting guilty pleas by immediately detecting inadequate courtroom interpretation.
1, 35-39 (2004) (noting that the American plea negotiation is essentially an outgrowth of its adversarial system of justice, as opposed to an inquisitorial framework, whose aim is resolution and settlement of conflicts).
After Mezzanatto was convicted, he appealed, claiming, inter alia, that defendants cannot waive the prohibitions against the introduction of plea negotiation statements contained in Federal Rule of Evidence 410 and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(e)(6).
evidence against them, they are both eager to begin plea negotiations,
311, 336 (1976) (establishing the claim that the reduced probability of conviction for wealthy defendants within the judicial system leads prosecutors to offer them lower sentences in the plea negotiation context).
4) The Rules currently provide that statements made by a criminal defendant during plea negotiations with a prosecutor are inadmissible in a proceeding against the defendant.