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Plea Bargaining: An Unnecessary Evil

NCJ Number
Marquette Law Review Volume: 70 Issue: 4 Dated: (Summer 1987) Pages: 615-632
R A Fine
Date Published
18 pages
Plea bargaining should be abolished because it encourages crime and demoralizes both victims and society.
Abolishing it will restore respect for the criminal justice system, which now lets people think that they should get away with crime because they can. The U.S. Supreme Court has acknowledged that plea bargaining would not exist in the ideal world. Most criminal justice professionals accept it, however, believing that it is necessary in an overburdened criminal justice system. Nevertheless, it weakens deterrence and respect for the law and tends to extort guilty pleas, while working to the advantage of prosecutors, defendants, and defense lawyers who want to avoid trials. In addition, it is unnecessary, as shown by the experience of four jurisdictions. Alaska; Ventura County, Calif.; Oakland County, Mich.; and New Orleans have found bans on plea bargaining to be effective. Thus, it should be abolished. Charges should not be reduced without specific findings and certifications on the record. 68 footnotes.