Plea Bargaining is the central feature of modern criminal justice system. It is also known as Pre-trial settlement, plea discussions, plea negotiations, resolution discussion etc. In its most traditional and general sense, “plea bargaining” refers to pre-trial negotiations between the defendant, usually conducted by the counsel and the prosecution, during which the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for certain concessions by the prosecutor. The concept of plea-bargaining is an alternative remedy to the long and tortuous process of trial in courts which has been introduced to ensure speedy disposal of cases and to reduce congestion in prisons. Plea bargaining is a contract with the state wherein the defendant agrees to settle a case with certain guidelines and conditions and agrees to plead guilty to a lesser crime and receive a lesser sentence rather than to go to trial on a more severe charge where he faces the possibility of harsher sentences. Wikipedia, defines the term as “a plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal case in which a Prosecutor and a defendant arrange to settle the case against the defendant. The defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest (and often in exchange for some agreement from the prosecutor as to the punishment. A plea bargain can also include the prosecutor agreeing to charge a lesser crime, and dismissing some of the charges against the defendant.” Thus when analyze with this general meaning, there can be two kind of plea bargaining, one is of bargaining as to the charge and other is as to the punishment. When an offender is charged with aggravated assault/ battery, on his alleged conduct in a public street by associating a street fight, the offender before the Trial Court may voluntarily opt for a lesser charge of simple assault/battery or for a disorderly conduct in Public Street and the Court can award punishment for the lesser charge. This kind of bargaining is plea bargaining as to charges. In other kind of plea bargaining, such as bargaining as to punishment, the offender agrees to plead guilty to the original charge of aggravated assault/battery, without bargaining for a lesser charge, but bargaining for a lesser punishment, in exchange for a severe sentence that he would likely to receive if a Trial Court found him guilty at trial. Bargaining for a reduction in either the number, or severity of criminal charges is referred to as charge bargaining. Bargaining for a favourable sentence, recommendation by the prosecutor, or bargaining directly with a trial judge for a favourable sentence is referred to as sentence bargaining. Although charge bargaining and sentence bargaining are the most common forms of plea bargaining, they are not the only ones. Other kind is fact bargaining. In fact bargaining, a prosecutor agrees not to contest an accused’s version of the facts or agrees not to reveal aggravating factual circumstances to the court. This form of bargaining is likely to occur when proof of an aggravating circumstance would lead to a mandatory minimum sentence or to a more severe sentence under sentencing guidelines. Apart from this, there are two kinds of plea bargaining, as endorsed in International jurisprudence. i.e., Express and implicit plea bargaining. Express bargaining occurs when an accused or his lawyer negotiates directly with a prosecutor or a trial judge concerning the benefits that may follow the entry of a plea of guilty. Implicit bargaining, on the other hand, occurs without face-toface negotiations. In Implicit bargainings, the trial judges especially, establish a pattern of treating accused who plead guilty more leniently than those who exercise the right to trial, and the accused therefore come to expect that the entry of guilty pleas will be rewarded. EVOLUTION & HISTORY
Plea-bargaining emerged and has gained acceptance in the legal community only in recent decades. One of the earliest indications of plea-bargaining was a 1485...
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