Plea bargaining can defined as “a process in which a person who is accused of a crime is allowed to say that he or she is guilty of a less serious crime in order to be given a less severe punishment, or a negotiation of an agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant whereby the defendant is permitted to plead guilty to a reduced charge.” Plea Bargaining. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster online. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pleabargaining. Many people disagree about whether or not plea bargains are fair and just and if they should be used at all. There is even dispute as to when plea bargaining actually began in the United States.
Plea bargaining is controversial for many reasons. The time that plea bargaining actually began in the United States is even in dispute by most. Plea bargaining is a relatively recent development that took hold late in the nine-teenth century states Siegel and Worrall, (2012), however according to Mary E. Vogel (2008), plea bargaining actually emerged in the American criminal courts during the 1830s and 1840s, far earlier than had previously been argued. The time at which plea bargaining began in the United States isn’t the only controversy surrounding this important issue. Some of the other problems surrounding plea bargaining in the United States are false confessions, in which an otherwise innocent offender pleads guilty to a crime he or she did not commit, simply to avoid the possibility of being found guilty at trial. It is hard to understand why an individual would even consider doing that, however some defendants feel that they will be better off by just admitting to the crime, even when they had nothing at all to do with it. According to the Innocent Project, there are several other reasons that an innocent person confess to a crime that they had nothing to do with and some of those are duress, coercion,...
References: Plea bargaining. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary . Retrieved September 15, 2013, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plea bargaining
Siegel, L. J. & Worrall, J. L. (2012). Introduction to Criminal Justice (13th ed.). Wadsworth Publishing Company. ISBN: 978-0-495-91338-2.
Vogel, M. E. (2008). The social origins of plea bargaining: An approach to the empirical study of discretionary leniency? Journal of Law & Society, 35, 202.
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