Plea bargaining saves money for the court. But is it truly the right brand of justice, especially in capital murder cases? What about the victim and their families?
Just to shorten the time of the court or to uncover information, is it really justified to cut a deal with the accused?
What is plea bargaining?
Plea bargaining is when a defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for favorable treatment by the court. This can range from not having to serve all of his/her sentence and receiving a lighter sentence to being sentenced to probation instead of prison time.
At its core, plea bargaining is essentially a negotiation between the prosecutor and the defendant.
The defendant can agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge, such as manslaughter vs. capital murder, in exchange for a more favorable sentence.
This is especially common in capital murder cases, where the prosecution will seek the death penalty if the defendant does not agree to plead guilty.
In this case, the prosecution may offer life imprisonment instead of death if the defendant pleads guilty.
Is plea bargaining justified in capital murder cases?
In most capital murder cases, the prosecution will attempt to convince the jury that there is no other way you could have known about your victim’s death and acted with malice aforethought.
In these cases, the defendant is facing the death penalty. If they can convince a jury that you didn’t know about your victim’s death and didn’t act with malice aforethought, then it’s unlikely that they would sentence you to death row.
In this situation, plea bargaining may be justified because it allows for more lenient sentencing without any risk of execution.
Plea bargaining has been used since at least Ancient Rome. However, some people argue that it should be banned because it allows prosecutors to get away with murder.
One argument against plea bargaining is that prosecutors have an obligation to seek justice even if they lose their case at trial.
For example, if a prosecutor charges someone with murder but loses at trial and then offers him a deal to plead guilty to manslaughter, he has violated his duty to seek justice by accepting this offer when he knows he could have won at trial.
Some people argue that allowing plea bargains leads judges and juries to favor prosecutors over defendants who have been wrongly accused of crimes they didn’t commit simply because they pleaded guilty.
The truth is that there is no single right answer.
Even with concrete evidence, it’s not 100% sure that justice will be served. Plea bargaining is a compromise between complete justice and no justice at all. It helps out in getting the guilty behind the bars, but it also cuts down on the punishment for their crime once they confess.
Pleas are often used as an alternative to trials to speed up the legal process or reduce costs associated with litigation. They also help prosecutors avoid having evidence introduced at trial that they may be unable to use later on appeal or retry if they lose at trial.
Get an experienced criminal lawyer Mississauga to get more clarification on plea bargaining in capital murder cases.