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Criminal Cases and Plea Bargaining

            In America, we have experienced a great amount of trials ending in a plea bargain. The vast majority of criminal cases are resolved by plea bargains: 94 percent in state court cases, 97 percent in federal. For defendants, accepting a prosecutor's plea deal is less risky than going to trial and possibly being convicted on a more serious charge with a stiffer sentence. Plea bargaining can be seen as a "loophole" within our justice system, it gives the criminal an easier way to get out of the trial which would possibly land them with a heavier sentence. Defendants who are offered plea deals need effective counsel to ensure that their decisions are well-founded and voluntary, not coerced. Under the sixth amendment, the supreme court said in 2010, a plea is legitimate only if a defendant has had the assistance of counsel while considering it.
             You may be saying, "What even is plea bargaining?" Well, it is an arrangement between a prosecutor and a defendant whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in the expectation of leniency. "Plea bargaining is against the rule of law, it is used in the jurisdictions other than the various states of the United States. Plea bargaining is that bushel basket of practices whereby a prosecutor agrees to: charge a crime or crimes less seriously than the facts warrant. Reduce a charge or charges already issued. Not issue any additional charges. Or make a sentence recommendation all in return for a guilty or a no contest plea. Plea bargaining before the trial turns justice into the game of poker; a man should be innocent or guilty of what he is charged with, and it should be for the court to determine whether a lesser charge ought to be preferred." (American Justice) Many people look at plea bargaining the same way as Anthony Daniels in his "American Justice" article. It allows for the criminal to receive a lesser sentence which can be seen as a very bad possibility for some criminals.

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