Does plea bargaining undermine the criminal justice system?

  • Plea bargains are used way to much in our criminal justice system.

    When plea bargains all began, it was being done for good reasons. For example: Plea bargains were being offered to convicted murders who would give up information on other unsolved murders that they were apart of, and in return they would receive a life sentence instead of the death penalty. Which would give many other families closure for their missing loved ones. Nowadays, it seems plea bargains are just being used as a way to save money and not go to trial. Which in all reality is NOT serving justice.

  • It is truly a necessary evil.

    Plea bargaining. It is necessary. Without it, our courts would overrun with cases, the cost would immediately shoot through the roof, and our jails would be filled to the brim with inmates. And yet, it is not right. Criminals are getting a lighter sentence than is deserved, and the victim's feelings are being treated in a less than stellar manner.

  • I agree that the criminal justice system is undermined when plea bargaining occurs, because it is structured that way.

    The criminal justice system can be compromised to allow room for the law to be exercised fully, depending on the circumstances of a case. Most people do not realize that a plea bargain is the best offer, in some cases, because it could give a second chance to someone who may have received a harsher sentencing if they were to go to trial.

    Posted by: SteepSanto68
  • I oppose plea bargaining, because it does undermine the criminal justice system when criminals get off easy for their crimes.

    Plea bargaining is unfair for the criminal justice system, especially for the victim. The victim did nothing wrong, but their assailant is able to serve just a tiny fraction of time, or not at all, by pleading guilty to a lesser charge. The criminal should have to go to trial and face the full set of charges to truly pay for their crimes. Otherwise, the criminal justice system is telling people that you can commit crimes, and then only be held responsible for a small portion of that crime.

    Posted by: TMacias
  • Yes, plea bargaining does undermine our criminal system, because it actually goes against its principles.

    Plea bargaining undermines the criminal justice system, because it actually stops it from happening. Instead of putting the guilty in jail, they get deals for less time, or no time. In a recent case, 6 of 10 suspects were being offered plea bargains, and yet the case was pretty open and shut. This is not justice. This is a slap in the face of what it's supposed to be.

    Posted by: SAugustus
  • Of course it does.

    Plea bargaining fundamentally undermines the law. It puts the principle of justice in the hands of the guilty, and unnecessary fear in the hearts of the innocent. Guilty criminals are receiving outrageous, minimal sentences because of the financial strain on the judicial system in the US. Does this provide fair justice to victims and the people, no, it makes the process cheaper and diminishes the principle of retribution. Plea bargaining also puts the power of assigning retribution to prosecutors, and therefore allows for all forms of bias and corruption. Since when was the pursuit justice about money? Shouldn't justice always be about achieving justice?

  • Plea Bargains do undermind the Criminal Justice System

    Plea bargins undermind the criminal justice system, by allow defendents to get off with lessor sentencing and in some cases no jail time at all. But meanwhile the victims are the ones who suffer a great loss, because of this. Criminal seem to have more rights than their victims do.

  • Plea bargaining is unjust and a way to convict as many people of crimes as possible without the expense of trial.

    Prosecutors charge defendants and get the grand jury to indict. The text of an Introduction to Criminal Justice Class I took says that "a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich," so it's not hard to indict innocent people on trumped up charges. The prosecution gets these charges on people that would NEVER be able to stand up in court and they do not have the evidence to back up the high charges they are accusing the defendant of. That's why when they offer a "deal," which is usually a lot lower and fewer charges than what a defendant began with, it seems like a break and a defendant takes it because they don't want to risk trial and being found guilty of the higher charges. If a prosecutor cannot prove a defendant guilty of that crime they are charging them with they shouldn't be allowed to charge that person at all. It's sick and absolutely distasteful.

  • It forces innocent to plead guilty

    Today's judicial system is rigged to get the courts and prosecutors numbers up for reelection. If they don't have a strong case against a defendant they just keep delaying the court proceedings over and over and over for one reason or another and you have to show back up in another 2 or 3 months. Then you show up to that one and then it's postponed again....And then again....And again. My case was delayed for over 2 1/2 years because I refused to plead guilty to a felony and wanted a jury trial. After 2 1/2 years the thousands I've already given my lawyer was spent and yet I'm still waiting for a trial. Finally they offered a plea of misdemeanor conviction...Yada yada yada which I basically HAD to take because they were never going to let me go to trial. I knew their case was weak and my defense was rock solid but they wanted that conviction on their records. Even my lawyer was just milking me for as much money as he could get from me over it. Of course I didn't find out how bad he was until after I signed the plea agreement of "guilty" and that the prosecution burned the evidence 30 days after my arrest! I needed that evidence as part of my defense and demanded some test on it immediately upon release from my 3 days in jail. I was there when my attorney sent the paperwork demanding these tests and then he never bothered to get the results after that! I was given an extremely harsh sentence for my first offense, and I'm not a young kid by any means, and people were shocked at how rough it was.

  • Common Sense Dictates

    Of course it does, if the risk of failure outweighs the offered punishment and there ambiguity in the case then if you didnt accept a plea bargain you are submitting yourself to a gamble with a very damaging outcome vs a tolerable situation. You would have to be nuts not to go down that route. I am innocent and have no record however I would certainly accept a plea bargain if the proposed punishment was significant vs a less significant punishment

  • Plea bargaining is a way to help victims. They do not have to appeal in court.

    I feel that the plea bargaining is a good thing for those who are guilty of the crime they are charged with committing. I would not expect an innocent person to plea bargain for something that they did not do. I am in favor of plea bargain because it also saves a lot of time and money. It also helps the victim by not having to appeal in court.

  • Without plea bargaining our justice system would become bogged down, with defendants waiting for months and years to go to trial, thus undermining our Constitutional right to a speedy trial.

    Plea bargaining is here to stay--make no mistake about that.

    It has been said that our Justice System is like a balloon. If you restrict it in one area, it will just bulge out in another area to compensate.

    When we criminalized the use of drugs, we invented plea bargaining. Our courts, prosecutors, public defenders, could no longer handle their cases by taking them to trial--they did not have the time/resources to do so.

    Enter plea bargaining. Instead of taking a case to trial all parties sit down in an interview room and agree on a charge and a sentence.

    This impacts the Justice System in several ways: courtrooms and judges are used minimally, as are the time/resources of the prosecutor and defense attorney. Since these sentences are lighter, the burden on our prison system is lighter. These are all good things.

    If there is concern that criminals are "getting off" lightly, it's been noted that arresting officers and prosecutors usually charge offenders with the most serious offenses possible in order to have "wiggle room" during plea bargaining.

    Plea bargaining is here to stay--it is not undermining the Justice System--it is a tool that has become part of the system.

    Posted by: CI3Iike
  • Plea bargaining is necessary to clear cases faster.

    In some areas, crime rates are very high. While it would be nice for a defendant to receive a jury trial in all cases, this is an impractical solution in the inner city. In many cities, citizens are called every year to serve on a jury. In most cases, a plea bargain happens before a jury is even called. If this was not the case, citizens would have to serve on multiple juries throughout the year, taking them from their jobs, home lives, and other daytime activities. While jury duty is a noble endeavor, serving on a jury several times a year would be too onerous for most citizens to endure.

    Posted by: AmusingTanner32
  • No, because plea bargaining makes the criminal justice system more efficient.

    Plea bargaining allows the criminal justice system to process cases more efficiently. The backlog of cases make it a necessity. Specifically, in cases where evidence is marginal, or the outcome is uncertain, the use of plea bargains allows for the swift adjudication of cases that would otherwise unnecessarily take up the time of the courts, lawyers, and citizens appointed to a jury. The use of plea bargains also allows for the recognition of the spirit of the law, and not just the letter of the law. Quite often, first offenders are allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge, rather than suffering the full consequences for an indiscriminate mistake in judgement. On the whole, plea bargaining is not only a useful tool, it is a necessary element of our criminal justice system.

    Posted by: FPeyton
  • Abuses are possible, but plea bargaining is a good bargain for society.

    Plea bargaining is a pragmatic method of streamlining the justice system. Prosecutors and defense attorneys, who have the experience to judge the likely outcome of a long and expensive jury trial, reach an agreement where both sides compromise on an outcome to conserve resources and to avoid the risk of an unexpectedly bad trial outcome. While objections to a process that generally reduces punishment of criminals are understandable, one should recognize that a plea bargain frees up prosecutors and their resources to tackle other cases. Another legitimate concern is that defendants who can't afford strong representation might be bullied into accepting a plea bargain even when they are innocent. While such an outcome is possible, we know that innocent defendants (especially those without strong defense attorneys) can be convicted in full jury trials, too.

    Posted by: LuciaL
  • I do not believe plea bargaining undermines the justice system because it helps ensure criminals get a punishment that fits the crime.

    Plea bargaining allows for prosecutor, defense attorney, client, judge to come to agreement on sentencing. If every crime or offense went to trial by jury, things like shop lifting would cost taxpayers twice as much. Sometimes prosecutors do not have enough evidence beyond reasonable doubt, or things become thrown out of court. Without plea bargaining, lesser criminals may get over-sentenced and violent criminals under-sentenced. It is a necessary medium to ensure criminals get a punishment that fits the crime.

    Posted by: RodFreak
  • I think plea bargaining does not undermine the criminal justice system, because it gives relief to an overloaded system.

    I think plea bargaining does not undermine the criminal justice system, because it provides relief to an already overloaded system. There are already so many cases waiting to be heard, plea bargaining makes it so that cases don't have to carry on for a long time in the court room. If plea bargaining were abolished, the criminal justice system would become overburdened to the point that it could not function.

    Posted by: w00dwitch
  • No, because there is a legitimate place in the judicial system for plea bargaining.

    Plea bargaining in no way undermines the judicial system. Plea bargaining allows criminals, that are sometimes one-time offenders, plea down to lesser sentences, instead of shoving more inmates into the already overcrowded prison system. Although plea bargaining is not for everyone involved in a crime, sometimes it allows for that second chance needed to turn a person around.

    Posted by: WillowsErv
  • Plea bargaining does not undermine the criminal justice system.

    Plea bargaining expedites the criminal justice system by speeding up the process and reducing costs. Trials are very expensive and time consuming. Once the trial is over and the suspect is found guilty, a longer sentence is imposed, resulting in higher housing costs for prisoners. If the convicted person re-offends, the first conviction is taken into consideration at sentencing time.

    Posted by: jackprague94
  • Absolutely Not...

    Plea bargaining is the criminal justice systems way of keeping a steady flow of human beings to sustain itself. Prosecuting attorneys thrive on the guilty verdict that's their job. Team the prosecuter with most public defenders and you have mass plea bargaining and the system rolls on. Save our Children Stop the War in Drugs!

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