Plea Bargaining In The Criminal Justice System

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The Nature of Plea Bargaining in the American Criminal Justice System Many conceptualize the American criminal justice system as consisting of trials where prosecutors and defense attorneys argue over the defendant’s innocence. However, the truth is that the traditional court norm of a full-fledged trial is becoming increasingly rare as time goes on. As the population grows, more court cases will naturally enter the court system. However, with only a miniscule amount of judges to preside over cases, the problem of overburdening has quickly become apparent. One controversial method of alleviating the pressure placed on the courts is called plea bargaining. In the simplest terms, plea bargaining is a deal made between the prosecutor and the …show more content…
Many contend that plea bargaining detracts from the formality of the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system is depicted in many fictional series, such as Law & Order. When the defendant goes to court, they usually end up getting a trial. However, in reality, most defendants strike a deal with the prosecution team to get a lighter sentence. Plea bargaining could be compared to a business deal. In a business deal, both sides a looking to gain something out of the deal, and will usually work out the details in order to satisfy each other. Plea bargaining happens the same way. The prosecution does not want to lose the case and the defendant does not want to go to prison (or serve a harsher sentence). Both the prosecution and the defendant work out the details in a way that will satisfy at least one of the parties. Overall it is very non-traditional in regards the court system. Also, there is a possibility that the defendant may be innocent. If the defendant admits guilt, they waive their right to a trial. Even if they are innocent, they will still face the penalties of being convicted (such as probation, a criminal record, etc.). Plea bargaining leads to intimidation in some cases, where a lot of defendants risk getting convicted and receiving a harsher sentence if they go to trial. Thus, they opt to take the plea bargain and save themselves time in prison. In …show more content…
A common argument is that without plea bargaining, the legal system would be too overwhelmed. This is true, as most courts are overwhelmed enough as it is with all the cases that are introduced. Therefore, plea bargaining helps to increase the efficiency of the criminal justice system. Additionally, attorneys and prosecutors will have worked enough cases that they can almost predict the sentencing that the defendant would receive. Usually plea bargaining works out to a lighter sentence for the defendant, so it has a track record to back it up. However, is it worth the

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