Examples Of Guilty Pleas

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Most criminal cases end when the defendant (the person accused of a crime) pleads guilty. Guilty pleas are usually favored by everyone involved – each side gets some benefit: A trial isn’t added to the judge’s already-busy court schedule; the prosecution gets a conviction, and the defendant gets some favored treatment, like a sentence that’s less than the one he’d probably get if he went to trial and lost.

Pleading guilty comes at a cost, though. A defendant gives up a lot of important rights, like a jury trial and confronting witnesses. It also means conviction and punishment. Guilty pleas are serious business; they must be entered into voluntarily or else they’re invalid. A defendant can’t be tricked into or forced to enter a guilty plea;
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Some examples of when threats and promises may make a guilty plea involuntary include situations when:

A defendant’s attorney threatens withdraw as counsel and a family member threatens to withdraw bail if he doesn’t plead guilty
The prosecution knows that it doesn’t have probable cause to believe that a defendant actually committed a crime but threatens to prosecute him unless he pleads guilty
The prosecution threatens to prosecute a member of the defendant’s family, even though it doesn’t have probable cause to believe that the family member committed a crime, unless the defendant pleads guilty
The prosecution promises the defendant that he’ll get a certain sentence or punishment if he pleads guilty but the prosecution knows or has a good reason to believe that the judge won’t give the defendant the promised sentence
There are many threats and promises, however, that won’t make a plea involuntary. For
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An example is when his attorney is representing the defendant’s “co-defendants” who are charged with participating in the same crime with the defendant
The judge assigned for the hearing to approve the defendant’s guilty plea was involved extensively in the plea negotiations, or maybe even came up with the plea deal itself, and the defendant fears the judge’s retaliation if he doesn’t take the deal
The defendant isn’t mentally competent at the time he agrees to the plea, for example, due to a developmental disability, intoxication or influence of narcotics
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