Plea Bargaining In Criminal Justice

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Plea bargaining

Institutional affiliation

Trial by a jury was intended as a truth seeking mechanism, a means of achieving fairness and a way to hold the government to the principles of the constitution. The Sixth Amendment of the constitution guarantees the right to a fair trial by an impartial jury. It gives the defendant a right to challenge evidence presented by the government and provides for a conviction only if an impartial jury finds the defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Despite the right to a fair trial, the criminal justice system is largely a system of plea-bargaining with the outcome being decided by the prosecutor (Bibas, 2004). This paper will look at the use of plea bargaining in the criminal justice …show more content…

Innocent defendants who are risk averse cannot be willing to risk going to trial and receiving harsh sentences and instead choose to plead guilty to ensure the receive lenient sentences. It undermines the integrity of the justice system as it allows the government to evade the rigorous standards required by the due process. It allows the prosecutor to take the role of a judge and jury in determining the guilt of the defendant. It also allows the defendant to escape the full punishment for their misconduct by giving them lenient sentences. Lenient sentences offered to those who plea bargain in contrast to harsher sentences for those who are convicted after a full trial lead to disparities in individuals convicted of similar offences.
An alternative to the plea bargaining process is a bench trial. The system that allows the defendant to waive his right to a jury trial and instead receive a bench trial, which is a less restrictive alternative to a jury trial. However, unlike a plea bargain, the defendant still preserves his constitutional rights. This system conforms more closely to the due process than plea bargaining because it allows the defendant an opportunity to be heard. They require less time and resources compared to jury trials (Stuntz, …show more content…

It is a compromise to the right to a jury trial and provides advantages for the prosecutor as well as the defendant. It saves time and resources that would be required in a jury trial and reduces the risk of uncertain sentences on trial. Arguments against its use provide that it is unconstitutional because it deprives the defendant the right to the due process of the law. However, the use of plea-bargains has become an important part of the criminal justice system as it allows for the prompt disposition of

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