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 ?
In Coulter, the defendant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus asserting that his attorney provided ineffective assistance related to a foregone plea bargain opportunity.
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Accountability court approved Sohail Majeed's plea bargain petition in mega corruption case and issued his release orders.
The Israeli Supreme Court rejected the family's petition to refuse the plea bargain, he added.
The] plea bargain is a very human thing, it's not easily broken down into a decision tree.
He categorically refuted reports that "NAB receives a share once the plea bargain is finalised.
Imposing a new constitutional floor may lower a trial judge's inclination to accept a suspect plea bargain.
27) A hearing at which a judge approves a plea bargain does not involve a full-blown confession to the facts of the crime.
What it does is that it encourages the robbers and thieves that even if they are caught they have an alternative of plea bargain where they can pay back half of what they have robbed and they will immediately be released.
Some judges accept a plea bargain as long as the as-yet-unwritten
The plea bargain, offered by the police prosecutor, had apparently been sanctioned over the phone by a junior staffer at Legal Services, contrary to Clerides' earlier instructions for such authorisation to be requested, and provided, in writing.
11) This large amount of power places the prosecutor in the position of making unilateral decisions that will directly affect a criminal defendant and will ultimately direct the likely result of any future plea bargain.