Plea Bargaining or “I did not commit that crime but I will agree to this one for 3–5 years or probation”

The criminal court operates under two models: The crime control model (that relies heavily on plea bargaining and guilty pleas) and the due process model (that provides a full trial process). A comparison of these models was exemplified in a classic 1968 article by Herbert Packer: Two Models of the Criminal Process.

The issue of plea bargaining has become a very controversial issue within the court system. Overburdened courts and endless dockets are causing the system to collapse and as a result, many prosecutors have turned to plea bargains to reduce the strain. The fast track between probation and reduced sentences has not been without controversy. Although plea bargaining is often criticized, more than 90% of criminal convictions come from negotiated pleas. Thus, less than 10% of criminal cases go to trial.

In a 4–5-page paper (1,000 to 1,250 words), identify the associated issues with plea bargaining. Does it undermine the system of law? If so, how? What are the incentives behind plea bargaining for judges, prosecutors, and defendants? Explain your answers and cite examples to support your position.

Additional Reference Information

Below are two Library articles that addresses plea bargaining.

Bowers, J. (2007). Grassroots plea bargaining. Marquette Law Review, 91(1), 85–121.

Fisher, T. (2008). The boundaries of plea bargaining: Negotiating the standard of proof. The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 97(4), 943–1007.

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