The prosecutors option

You must post your response before you can view other responses or comments.Entries are due by 11:59 pm Saturday The prosecutors option to plea bargain a criminal case is the major area of discretion

You must post your response before you can view other responses or comments.

Entries are due by 11:59 pm Saturday

The prosecutors’ option to plea bargain a criminal case is the major area of discretion which dramatically effects the criminal justice system.

Is plea bargaining good or bad?

Remember, regardless of the pre-trial review, the verdict is never a foregone conclusion; and persons found not guilty are set free.

1. The defense attorney for a reputed drug dealer has just offered to have his client plead guilty to simple possession and accept a 1 year jail sentence, suspended any incarceration for one year supervised probation and a mandatory drug treatment program.  At the same time the prosecutor learns that the drug analysis exam was compromised by the failure of the laboratory to sanitize the analysis mechanisms prior to testing.  Another test could be done, but at significant expense and only if the assigned trial judge accept a motion to delay the trial date.  Should the prosecutor accept the plea?

2. A detective from  the sex offense unit informs the prosecutor that the victim of this sexual assault will not come to court to face her attacker.  Of course the criminal charges are the “People of the State of ___ vs.—-Defendant–” so technically the victim is just a witness.  In this case however, the sexual assault is rape and the defense is going to argue that there was no rape since the “victim” consented to the event.  The prosecutor could subpoena the victim and force her testimony, but she knows that reluctant victims make terrible case witnesses. Should the prosecutor offer a plea deal to the defendant?

3. Same case as #2 above, but the victim is 11 years old and the defendant is looking at major criminal time and the life-long designation as a “Child Sex Offender”.  The only plea the defense is willing to consider is a low level sexual assault charge, psychological treatment, but absolutely  NO child sex offender designation.  Should the prosecutor make the plea deal?

4.  A petty thief and burglar who has been arrested several times and served several  prison and jail terms gets caught riding in a stolen car being driven by a buddy.  As it happens he didn’t steal this particular car but was picked up by his friend after it was stolen.  He explains all this to his attorney. The problem is, with his association with the driver/thief and his record he know it is entirely likely he will get charges as an accessory to the car theft and get convicted and sentenced to several years in prison..  The defense attorney tells his client he thinks that if the defendant pleads guilty to simple possession of stolen goods he can get a few months jail time or even probation, even though he is actually innocent.  Should the attorney make the plea bargain with the prosecutor?

5.  In an all out effort to reduce crime the local police department has initiated a “zero tolerance”, pro-arrest policy resulting in a massive increase in misdemeanor arrests.  While some can be dismissed out of hand, most of the arrests are supported with probable cause, including many with drug or weapon possession charges which can carry significant prison sentences.  Neither the Prosecutor’s Office nor the Criminal Court can handle the ballooning case load.  Sensing this, defense attorneys are pressing their clients’ right to a speedy trial or dismiss the charges.  Are plea deals an option?.

6. A mugger attacks an elderly woman on the steps of her home, grabbing her purse and pulling her to the ground as he fled.  In the fall the victim broke her hip.  After surgery she was sent to a nursing home for treatment and care where she died of complications a few weeks later.  The thief was caught with the woman’s wallet containing $9.  The family, community leaders and the press are calling for the defendant to be charges with involuntary manslaughter, which carries a 40 year maximum sentence.  The prosecutor is troubled by the lack of physical evidence, the time between the assault and the victim’s death and potential intervening causes of death (i.e., hospital and nursing home care).  According to the defense attorney , the accused is willing to plead guilty to simple theft; a crime punishable by a maximum.of 6 months incarceration.  Should the prosecutor make the plea deal?

The cases outlined above are not presented for answers but to stimulate your thinking.

Discussion question:  Is plea bargaining good or bad …. for the court’s docket management?   …..for the victim?    …. for justice?

Support your response with at least one (1) outside …not course material… source. APA formatted citations are required in the narrative,  and a full citation at the end of your response.

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