Plea Bargaining In Criminal Justice

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Plea bargaining is a tool often utilized during the adjudication process that serves several different purposes for all parties involved. The definition of a plea bargain, according to Frank Schmalleger, is:
“The process of negotiating an agreement among the defendant, the prosecutor, and the court as to an appropriate plea and associated sentence in a given case. Plea bargaining circumvents the trial process and dramatically reduces the time required for the resolution of a criminal case” (Schmalleger, 2016, p.233).
With plea bargaining, not only is the defendant offered an alternative to going to trial, but the defense is spared the strenuous process of producing enough substantial evidence to potentially get a conviction. The court is …show more content…

There are a variety of factors that have led to the rampant use of plea bargaining. One reason, that it is commonly utilized to resolve criminal cases, is that many public defenders have extremely large case loads and limited funding that often results in what seems to be a push for clients to accept these plea bargains in” a strategy of ‘plead ‘em and speed ‘em through’” (Schmalleger, 2016, p.246). Furthermore, the use of plea bargains also reduces the workloads of the courts both on the federal and state level, as a plea bargain is a much swifter way to garner a guilty verdict than waiting on a trial that can often become a belabored and lengthy process. This also benefits the courts as courts have a limited capacity to try cases due to time constraints and costs associated with trials. Therefore, with the prevalent use of plea bargaining, some defendants get sentences that are not reflective of the severity of their crimes and even go so far as to mask the actual crime that was committed, such as when a offender who has committed a sexual offense accepts a guilty plea to a different offense, thus masking the actual sex offense that could have more lasting consequences for the offender (Schmalleger, 2016, p.234). Another

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