Trial By Plea Bargain Essay, Research Paper
Trial by Plea Bargain
After I finished this short reading, it dramatically helped my understanding with how cases are dealt with by plea-bargaining. Plea-bargaining is first a verbal agreement made usually between the defense attorney, who is representing the defendant, and the district attorney. There are many different instances in which could occur. Plea-bargaining is the most common of settlements in the court system today. This helps cases move quickly and increases the judicial systems efficiency to be more responsive to cases. This type of bargaining allows the defendant to plead guilty to the charges that he or she brought upon themselves for a lesser charge. Emmelman believes that plea-bargaining is a trial within itself. She believes that through the negotiations the defendant is put on trial. This interaction is a negotiating technique used by defenders, district attorneys, and sometimes even judges. These negotiations could be present once in a case, which the defendant could settle and dismiss of further proceedings or this type of bargaining could be present throughout the case, trying to receive a better deal if he or she was to plead guilty to the charge. If there is no resolution that can be agreed upon, then the case most likely would head to trial. When a case is agreed upon for plea bargaining, the defendant must appear in court to finalize this compromised negotiation.
The defenders goal is to eliminate as much harm as possible that is done to the defendant. The defense attorneys look at all of the evidence and can then tell what position that their client sits in. They never put a plea bargain out of sight because it could possibly be used in every case if the other party allows it. When looking at a case, the sentence is determined on three different categories that determine how severe the criminal will be punished. There are two types of evaluations to look at when assessing the case. The first is how much the case is valued. There are three things to examine when determining this factor. The first is how serious the crime was that was committed. The more serious the crime, the less likely the chance for a plea bargain or the District attorney will not offer a favorable deal. The second thing that needs noticing is how much evidence that the prosecutor has and how incriminating that it is. Most of the time, when the evidence is weak, the defender will be very forceful on getting a very lenient sentence or will inform the district attorney that they will try the case in court. The third objective is to examine the defendant s background and if he or she has committed criminal acts in the past. It is also less likley to receive any assistance from the court system if there are past criminal acts in the defendant s history. The second evaluation of the case is how long it can be postponed. If the district attorney offers a plea bargain, the defendant can always proceed with the case to try and get a better deal. The plea offer usually does not get any worse unless more incriminating evidence is brought upon the defendant. Most of the time when the defender negotiates, the offer usually gets better over a few meetings with the other attorney. If the first offer that the defendant receives is very favorable, then he or she usually accepts the offer for the guilty plea and finishes the court proceedings.
The defenders in these cases act more as advisers than anything else. The attorney is not trying to defend himself; he is looking out for the better judgement of his client. When an offer is received, the defender explains all of the possible outcomes to the defendant. Overall the defender is not supposed to demand that their client take an offer that is received. There are however a few instances that the defender and the client agree or disagree. The most common way of interaction is when they both agree to plea bargain. The court proceedings are settled after a formal hearing. The next interaction of defender and client is when the defender envisions a better deal but the client wants to get out of the legal system as fast as possible. Sometimes this is due to the client being afraid that more evidence will come upon him. Another type of interaction is when the defender thinks that his client is receiving an all right deal and should accept it. The client however feels otherwise. Most of the time the client either wishes to negotiate for a better deal or decide to take the case to trial because he or she thinks they have a better chance at winning. The last of the defender/defendant relationship is where they both agree to proceed further because the defendant is not receiving an acceptable offer. Some of the time, a reasonable offer cannot be reached and therefore the case proceeds to go to trial.
As we have touched upon in class about Lipsky s beliefs, I think that plea-bargaining is a short cut in the judicial process. It takes a long drawn out procedure and lets it be a one to two step procedure. This helps the courts move through their list of cases, and it helps the defendant depart the court system quicker that usual. Another thing that was talked about in class is that the discretion of the sentence is left up to the prosecutor, kind of like the discretion that police have. It s up to the individual on how they see things.
In this chapter it has helped my understanding greatly with the methods of plea-bargaining. I know more on how the negotiating takes place between the two attorneys and how it is determined whether or not the defendant will receive a plea bargain by evaluating the case. I have become more aware of the way that the negotiation process takes place and how the defender tries to gain a better offer throughout the case. I have also gained more knowledge on the modes of interaction between the defender and the client. I have really paid attention to how the defender is not a dictator but a counselor.