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 bottom line is that those who loot this country should not get away in such simple manner as plea bargain.
Last week, Clerides dismissed any concerns of wrongdoing in two cases, but ordered an investigation into Neophytou's plea bargain.
83) Why should a defendant fare any better in a trial with an incompetent and overworked attorney than in a plea bargain with that same attorney?
Assistance of Counsel When a Criminal Defendant Rejects a Plea Bargain,
From the perspective of the "system," plea bargains have a lot of advantages: they do not tie up the judicial system with a trial; allow the District Attorney's office to move on to another case; enhance the prosecutor's conviction rate; and do not require the additional services of an appointed public defender if the accused needs one--and, most often, the plea bargain strategy works.
may be able to plea bargain creatively with the prosecutor in order
The plea bargain is a non-constitutional, statutory right (18) to what is essentially a contract of adhesion offered by the prosecution, (19) solicited or crafted by defense counsel, (20) and subject to judicial veto.
The difficulties inherent in evaluating whether to accept a plea bargain can be compounded by the breadth of inducements prosecutors may offer to avoid a trial.
Both views are based on an important assumption we challenge, that in the absence of a plea bargain the defendant would have to go to trial.
DISGRACED financier Bernard Madoff yesterday appeared close to entering a plea bargain with prosecutors over an alleged 50 million dollar (pounds 35,000,000) fraud.
What message do we send to the offender when we plea bargain a sentence without demonstrating what the sentence should mean to them and the community?
Stevens said Casas accepted the plea bargain because he otherwise risked 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the original charges, including conspiracy to commit murder.