The Importance Of Plea Bargaining In Criminal Trials
The Importance of Plea Bargaining in Criminal Trials
Screeech! That is the sound of our court system coming to a grinding halt, if plea bargaining were no longer utilized. Not only does plea bargaining save taxpayers an enormous amount of money, it often provides the evidence for a conviction and allows public defenders and other court officials to concentrate their limited resources on more important or difficult cases. Some people may believe that plea bargaining with criminals is wrong. The entire basis of the argument against plea bargaining says that criminals should not testify or have anything to do with the prosecution because they were involved with the crime. We fail to realize that without plea bargaining many criminals would never be punished for their crimes at all. It is as simple as that. Granted, a plea bargain is, by definition, a compromise. But it is a compromise that is absolutely necessary for the judicial system to function. While it may seem that a person who exchanges his testimony for a lighter sentence would have sufficient motivation to lie in court the fact is that his testimony is simply verifying the testimonies of other witnesses. In a majority of cases plea bargains is utilized to ensure that the truly guilty criminal is punished. In our less than perfect world, plea bargaining is easily the lesser of the evils.
I agree with the definitions submitted by the affirmative speaker.
Americans have always emphasized getting a job done. We place a great deal of value on efficiency and industry. The government is expected to run with efficiency and operate with the good of the people in mind. Every aspect of our lives is governed by this utilitarian value. Why do we place such importance on efficiency? Because without it nothing would ever get done. If we all constantly obsessed over minute details and unrealistic ideals we would live in poverty. In the real world compromises are made because without them no amount of success could ever be achieved. In the words of John Stewart Mill, the father of utilitarianism, "The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals utility, or the greatest happiness principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness". This means that in a world of compromise, the most success is achieved by giving the greatest good to the greatest number of people.
This belief applies directly to plea bargaining. In this case, the most justice must be given the greatest number of criminals. Currently in the state of New York, 79% of all first degree murder cases are plea bargained. Without plea bargaining, many of these criminals would never even see a jail cell. Barry Kinsey, a sociologist at The University of Tulsa, said "Without plea bargaining the court's could not function unless there were drastic increases in budget allowance" . The courts are at present full and running over and if all the cases were to be tried the courts budgets would have to be increased by 900% (according to Tom Wallace, a public defender from Baltimore, Maryland).
It is also important to consider the length of time that would be required to try every person indicted for a crime. With the courts as over burdened as they are, taking every case to trial could clog up the courts almost indefinitely. Since every person in this country is guaranteed a speedy trial (courtesy of the sixth amendment), banning plea bargaining without tremendous budget increases would violate the constitutional rights of those accused.
The affirmative speaker believes that plea bargaining does not reveal the
truth. He has said that there is often lying and inaccurate accounts of the
truth as a result of plea bargaining. I believe that the opposition is wrong. There may be cases where there is lying but every part of the court system will have a lit
This is ONLY a preview of the article. If you would like to view the entire document, you must subscribe to Academic Library. Please register below now!
Copyright 1998- Academic Library. Academic Library is designed only to assist students and researchers in the preparation of their own work. Anybody who use our services are responsible not only for writing their own papers, but also for citing Academic Library as a source when doing so. By accessing and using this page you agree to the Disclaimer.
If you wish to cancel your subscription to Academic Library, please click here.