Considerations for plea bargaining

M4D1: Considerations for plea bargaining

Plea bargaining circumvents the trial process and dramatically reduces the time required for the resolution of a criminal case. Some prosecutors and public defenders often scramble to play “Let’s make a deal” to reduce the long waiting time before a trial begins and to reduce the enormous backlogs faced by many courts. While some critics refer to plea bargaining as “assembly line justice” and a denial of a speedy trial and full due process rights, others argue that many defendants prefer to plea bargain their cases rather than to languish in overcrowded jails awaiting a jury trial — which may result in a longer sentence; however, some prosecutors prefer not to plea bargain and carefully consider many different factors if they do decide to plea bargain.

Before responding to the discussion question:

View the video, “Prisoners urged to accept deals (Links to an external site.),” [Video File][07 Min 11 Sec]
After reading the assignments and lectures, viewing the PowerPoint presentations and videos, and participating in the activity above, you now have a better understanding of the issues surrounding plea bargaining, including whether to plea bargain or to go to trial. For this discussion, address the following topic:

You are a prosecutor presenting the defense attorney a plea offer that does NOT reduce the criminal charge and offers a very small reduction in the sentence recommendation for the defendant. Discuss which of the factors listed below you gave the greatest weight when deciding to make such a get tough offer.

Factors: Employment status, drug history, age of defendant, prior felony arrests, juvenile record, probation or parole at time of arrest, detained, offense type, and amount of evidence against the defendant. You can also choose other factors not listed here, if they are more important to you.
After your initial post, read and reply to at least TWO other postings made by your classmates with substantial responses that further the discussions. Remember to read and reply to questions from your instructor.

Keep the following in mind when making your posts to the discussion area:

Did you complete all of the elements required in your initial discussion post?
Did you respond to the initial posts of at least two of your fellow students?
Did you acknowledge those who responded to you, including questions from your instructor?
Were all of your posts made on time? That is, was your initial post made before Midnight Eastern Time on Thursday, and were your follow-up posts made before Midnight Eastern Time on Sunday.
Consult the Discussion Posting Guide for information about writing your discussion posts. It is recommended that you write your post in a document first. Check your work and correct any spelling or grammatical errors.

This is a “post first” discussion forum, which means you must submit your initial post before you can view other students’ posts.

When you are ready to make your initial post, click on “Reply.” Then copy/paste the text into the message field, and click “Post Reply.”

To respond to a peer, click “Reply” beneath her or his post and continue as with an initial post.


This discussion will be graded using the SPS Default Discussion Rubric. Please review this rubric, located on the Rubrics page within the Start Here module of the course, prior to beginning your work to ensure your participation meets the criteria in place for this discussion. All discussions combined are worth 20% of your final course grade.


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