The Pros And Cons Of Plea Bargaining

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INTRODUCTION
Criminal justice systems around the world have been facing overwhelming caseloads, and there have been ever-increasing pressure to handle them. These pressures are more manifest serious in countries with limited resources and fragile political environments. The kind of overload experienced as a result of overloaded criminal justice system in Nigeria is making it difficult, if not impossible, to try every accused person on time. Countries are increasingly searching for alternative processes to handle criminal cases beyond traditional formal trials. To this end, plea bargaining is being considered as a possible solution to problems of backlogs of cases, long periods of pretrial detention, and other human rights abuses resulting from the poor functioning of Nigeria’s criminal justice system. Hopefully, plea bargaining may help in alleviating this kind of challenges in the legal system. However, in countries that have not previously used plea bargains, this kind of reform which is new in our legal system should be carefully taken into consideration in the overall context of the existing criminal
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According to Alkon (2014:12):
Plea bargaining is based on informal negotiations. For plea bargaining to function, prosecutors need to have the discretion to decide when to offer plea bargains and what the offer should include. This can lead to different legal outcomes for otherwise similarly situated defendants. Some variation in sentencing is inevitable, even where all parties have followed the law and acted in good faith in negotiating pleas. However, plea bargaining can be used to cover disparate sentencing due to systemic problems like political interference in the legal system or corruption.

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