Plea Bargaining ' Lack Of Formal Process Essay

787 Words Nov 6th, 2015 4 Pages
PLEA BARGAINING’S LACK OF FORMAL PROCESS Additionally, plea negotiations lack a formal process, where unrestricted prosecutorial discretion coupled with minimal judicial oversight gives rise to inconsistent sentencing and a non-transparent system. In the current system, prosecutors have almost unlimited discretion which can lead to overcharging, where the accused may face “duplicate charges for single acts or crimes charged at higher degrees than the evidence can reasonably support” (Work, 2014, p. 462), creating cases that are easier to leverage into guilty pleas. This is possible because using their discretion, prosecutors can change "charges and fact allegations” (Sherrin, 2011, p. 17) without any accountability. Furthermore, prosecutorial discretion is essentially unreviewable and “immune from judicial review” (Phillips, 2015, p. 47) unless the case is grossly mishandled.
This leaves the defendant at a significant disadvantage at trial, where the fair treatment of the accused completely depends on the prosecutor 's behaviour. This unreviewability, along with the "low visibility" (Phillips, 2015, p. 50) of the prosecutor 's decisions leave prosecutor 's without any accountability to both the justice system and the public. Additionally, due the prosecutor’s ability to withdraw and reduce charges, there can be sentencing differences between similar cases, where it is “fundamentally unfair for some defendants to receive steep sentence discounts while others pay full price”…

Related Documents