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5 Reasons You Shouldn't Accept a Plea Bargain

Updated on July 1, 2017
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Emily is currently studying for a degree as a paralegal assistant. She is passionate about the justice system & initiating positive change

Being offered a plea bargain can mean something

different for everyone and every case. However,

it is not as uncommon as you may think.

The legal system in America is far from perfect, and I don't believe anyone can fully disagree with that statement. I can't help but wonder why it is not at the top of our list of things we need to adjust here at home.

It is often unclear whether or not the problem is really as obvious as it sometimes seems. It is hard not to wonder what it is that is keeping us stuck in the same old cycle. Is it jut too much work to make improvements? Is it that we don't know how, or that we just don't care?

Source

Plea Bargain: Win Or Lose?

I guess, at first glance, it's hard to say whether a plea bargain is a win or loss. Most times, it depends greatly on the circumstances of the case and what it is that the defendant is being charged with.

Plea bargains can be a great tool to use in the legal process, however, the more I learn about plea bargains as a whole it is starting to look more like an easy way out. Easy is not always bad, but when it is for the sole intent of being lazy, and disregarding actual facts in order to close a case and obtain an "easy" conviction.

As you can see in the image shown to the right, according to research demonstrated in this infograph that I found on a website called Fair Trials, 97% of federal criminal cases do not reach trial.

These numbers are shockingly high, and ring true for state convictions as well. 94% of state convictions are a result of a guilt plea. ninety-four percent of state convictions are the results of guilty pleas.

If there is no trial, there can be no fair trial, and that means that this constitutional right, for most, is a myth."

— United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy - 2012.

More often than not, a plea bargain can seem like a deal you can't refuse. From the smallest cases to the biggest cases, plea bargains are just a way of the norm in the American Court Room.

As far fetched as it may sound, innocent people are almost just as likely to be convinced to take a plea bargain as the guilty.

Trust me, I know what you must be thinking. Why would an innocent person ever admit to something they didn't do? Especially if they must face undesirable consequences?

FACTS

  • 94% of convictions are a result of a plea bargain
  • A guilty verdict at trial typically results in a much lengthier sentence
  • Less than 10% of criminal cases in America go to trial

Some states have rights in place for victims that require a prosecutor to discuss any plea deal that is being offered to the defendant. With this statement, and the fact that less than 10% of criminals in America are actually making it to a jury trial, it is hard not to wonder how many of these cases were actually open/shut cases.

The more research I do into the criminal justice system in America, and the large amount of cases that are being resolved with a plea bargain, I still find more questions than answers.

With a jury trial becoming a thing of the past, I wonder how many victims are being dismissed without their stories being heard?

How many innocent people are scared to be the rare jury case that causes a prosecutor to break a sweat actually executing their job - instead of just the easiest target.

IMAGINE for just a minute that you are currently awaiting trial for criminal charges that have been brought against you. If you have wandered to this sight by happenstance, then perhaps you are. If so, please check below for some resources that I've included that might help you out.

So just imagine, either way, that you've been wrongfully accused of a serious crime. We'll say that you found remains in a lake and now you've quickly became the number one suspect for a heinous murder. I know it's awful, but it really does happen.

You can't afford proper defense, and you're scared because the prosecution has told you they have a solid case against you - even though there's no way they possibly could, could they?

You've been offered a plea bargain. In exchange for your confession you'll be convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter instead of Homicide, and you'll receive a 10 year sentence instead of a 25 year sentence.

If you take it to trial, your fate is in the hands of the jury and how they perceive you. The prosecution will do their job to make you look as bad as they can, and without proper defense it can be like a lion's den to stand your ground.

Who Makes the Bargain?

If you're here reading this, I'd love to hear from you no matter what you have to add.

However, I'd like to invite you to let me know what you think about plea bargains being offered in exchange for testimony against a co-defendant in exchange for immunity or a lesser sentence to reduced charges.

Commonly, this is often considered "rolling over" on your partner in crime. Even though you may have been present and involved in the crime - it's possible to save your skin if you are willing to point the finger at someone else.

Please let me know your thoughts about plea bargains in America?

Maybe you have an alternate way of doing things you'd like to suggest.

I think as Americans, these are the things we should be talking about. It is worth our time and effort to try to better a justice system that we may all call upon to ensure our safety and our freedom, and that is not something that should be taken lightly.


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