Plea bargains have existed as a tool that many people within the legal system have utilized before. It has many benefits, but it also has potential downsides.
At the same time, it has both detractors and supporters. Some people believe that plea bargains are great tools, while others find them a potential avenue for abuse of power.
What are plea bargains?
The U.S. Department of Justice discusses plea bargains and their place in society. Plea bargains essentially offer someone the ability to take a plea deal where they will claim their guilt in exchange for a lesser sentence.
Typically, the prosecution will use this to secure a guilty verdict. The defendant will rely on this to avoid severe penalty such as long stays in prison or even the death sentence. It also helps the court system, as it allows the case to pass through without trial by jury.
Claims of supporters
Supporters of plea bargains say that it helps alleviate pressure from the system and provides the chance for the prosecution to at least ensure that someone gets put behind bars for their crime in a situation where it might otherwise be uncertain. The person used in a plea bargain may also have information on other members of a crime to trade, which can help net even more arrests and convictions.
Claims of detractors
However, some people say that plea bargains can violate a person’s constitutional right to a trial by jury. They find that plea bargains force innocent parties to claim guilt just to avoid a worse punishment.
Some victims also view plea bargains as a way for a criminal to escape the full force of justice and may feel hurt by the decision. Thus, they can act as both beneficial and potentially problematic.