Would the justice system be better without plea bargaining?

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ironpony
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30 Nov 2020, 1:33 am

It was one of the demands of the BLM at one time, that plea bargaining be done away with, and whenever I talk to people, they hate the idea of plea bargaining being in the justice system and find it to be unjust to people charged with crimes, because they are of course, pressured to plead guilty, even if they didn't do it.

So I am wondering, would it be better if the plea bargaining system was abolished entirely, and every felony case, had to go to trial, if that's more fair?



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30 Nov 2020, 2:09 am

ironpony wrote:
... and every felony case, had to go to trial, if that's more fair?

It seems there may then be more trials as a result, so it will only be fair if along with doing that it will be made impossible for people to get out of jury duty.


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30 Nov 2020, 2:15 am

Oh okay. Well it seems that for every trial there is always enough jurors still willing to show up? I mean I never heard of a say a defendant being went free, because there wasn't enough jurors.



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30 Nov 2020, 2:42 am

The entire "Law and Order" franchise of TV shows would collapse without plea bargaining existing in their plots.

And... all that I know about the American legal system is what I get from watching Law and Order! :lol:

So that leads me to believe that the American legal system itself would collapse without plea bargaining: presurring the perp to peach on his gangmates, or on that serial killer cellmate at Riker's Island. So ... I guess that we cant do without it.



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30 Nov 2020, 9:24 am

ironpony wrote:
Would the justice system be better without plea bargaining?
Yes.  It would be even better without confessions, since a lot of innocent people go to prison because some crooked cop or sleazy prosecutor says, "Confess to this lesser crime and you will not be charged with a felony."


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30 Nov 2020, 11:09 am

Fnord wrote:
ironpony wrote:
Would the justice system be better without plea bargaining?
Yes.  It would be even better without confessions, since a lot of innocent people go to prison because some crooked cop or sleazy prosecutor says, "Confess to this lesser crime and you will not be charged with a felony."

Yep. We need a justice system that relies more on detective work rather than on confessions.

Alas, real detective work is much more expensive than just pressuring people to confess. This is one of the reasons why I don't agree with the BLM folks that "de-funding the police" is a good idea. But hopefully some police resources will be freed up by the drug reform trend, which hopefully will result in less police harassment of black people also.


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30 Nov 2020, 11:15 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
Fnord wrote:
ironpony wrote:
Would the justice system be better without plea bargaining?
Yes.  It would be even better without confessions, since a lot of innocent people go to prison because some crooked cop or sleazy prosecutor says, "Confess to this lesser crime and you will not be charged with a felony."
Yep. We need a justice system that relies more on detective work rather than on confessions.  Alas, real detective work is much more expensive than just pressuring people to confess. This is one of the reasons why I don't agree with the BLM folks that "de-funding the police" is a good idea...
I suspect there will be more forced confessions and plea-bargaining as cash-strapped police and prosecutors attempt to keep their caseloads down and their conviction rates up in order to justify keeping their jobs.  THAT is something for which you can thank the BLM people.


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Nades
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30 Nov 2020, 11:35 am

The nature of the plea bargain has never made sense to me. The amount of duress it places on people to admit to crimes they have never done because the roll of the dice of a jury trial and the crazy sentnece after a guilty verdict is never worth it.

I would rather admit to a crime and get 3 years on a plea bargain than risk a 10% chance of being found wrongly guilty by a jury and getting 30 years.



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30 Nov 2020, 11:45 am

Going to a public school and being repeatedly rounded up with the usual suspects, I learned quickly to deny every accusation directed at me, and to make the authorities work their butts off to prove their cases -- which they never did.  I think it was because they were not such much looking to find the guilty parties as the were in finding someone to blame.  I also think it is safe to assume that with reduced funding, many cops and prosecutors would rather not use up their budgets bringing only one person to trial, only to have the (falsely) accused defendant lawyer-up and beat the rap.  Finally, I think the people of defunded police departments would rather pin crimes on whomever is available so they can project an image of a "Lean, mean, crime-fighting machine" and keep their jobs.

So if you have the right to remain silent, USE IT!!


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ironpony
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30 Nov 2020, 12:55 pm

Nades wrote:
The nature of the plea bargain has never made sense to me. The amount of duress it places on people to admit to crimes they have never done because the roll of the dice of a jury trial and the crazy sentnece after a guilty verdict is never worth it.

I would rather admit to a crime and get 3 years on a plea bargain than risk a 10% chance of being found wrongly guilty by a jury and getting 30 years.


Well, I guess a lot of people don't feel this way and would rather take the trial, instead of a plea bargain then, since they feel plea bargaining should be abolished?



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30 Nov 2020, 1:05 pm

ironpony wrote:
Nades wrote:
The nature of the plea bargain has never made sense to me. The amount of duress it places on people to admit to crimes they have never done because the roll of the dice of a jury trial and the crazy sentnece after a guilty verdict is never worth it.

I would rather admit to a crime and get 3 years on a plea bargain than risk a 10% chance of being found wrongly guilty by a jury and getting 30 years.


Well, I guess a lot of people don't feel this way and would rather take the trial, instead of a plea bargain then, since they feel plea bargaining should be abolished?


If you're innocent plea bargains are terrible, if you're innocent trials are even worse. As long as plea bargains are a normal part of the criminal justice system trials will have excessive sentences and plea bargains will attract innocent people into confessing to crimes they never commited.



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30 Nov 2020, 1:15 pm

Nades wrote:
ironpony wrote:
Nades wrote:
The nature of the plea bargain has never made sense to me. The amount of duress it places on people to admit to crimes they have never done because the roll of the dice of a jury trial and the crazy sentence after a guilty verdict is never worth it. I would rather admit to a crime and get 3 years on a plea bargain than risk a 10% chance of being found wrongly guilty by a jury and getting 30 years.
Well, I guess a lot of people don't feel this way and would rather take the trial, instead of a plea bargain then, since they feel plea bargaining should be abolished?
If you're innocent plea bargains are terrible, if you're innocent trials are even worse. As long as plea bargains are a normal part of the criminal justice system trials will have excessive sentences and plea bargains will attract innocent people into confessing to crimes they never committed.
In the American criminal justice system, the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty; at least, that is the ideal case.  Most of the time (it seems), the police and prosecution want a quick resolution to the case, whether you are guilty or not -- they do not care if you are really guilty as long as they can convict you of something; so it is best to play to that ideal and: (1) Remain silent during questioning, (2) Make no confession or plea deal, (3) Make your lawyers earn their pay, and (4) Make the prosecution and police prove their case against you ... even if they can.


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30 Nov 2020, 1:16 pm

Oh okay. When you take a plea bargain, do you have make any statements describing the crimes you committed, in detail, or do you just sign a paper saying youd did it, without any details of the crime?



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30 Nov 2020, 1:23 pm

ironpony wrote:
Oh okay. When you take a plea bargain...
You have not been paying attention.

DO NOT TAKE A PLEA BARGAIN!

Most of the time, it seems that plea bargains are offered by the prosecution because the prosecution's case is weak or flawed, and if the case goes to trial, there is a good chance of acquittal.  Refusing the plea bargain means that the prosecution has to work harder to obtain a conviction, and a good lawyer will be able to tear a weak or flawed case to pieces, usually resulting in acquittal.

Which would you rather endure: A short trial or a long prison term?


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30 Nov 2020, 1:58 pm

In general any major change to well-established system should be viewed with great care.

Plea bargains are pretty much essential to how our justice system works, save a lot of time and effort, and likely result in more criminals having to account for their crimes.

I know the arguments of sometimes innocent people get pressured into plea bargains, but sometimes innocent people lose trials too. More common I think is that a more serious crime gets pleaded out, and in that sense plead bargains can be considered fundamentally unjust.

Bottom line if you change something so core to the justice system, be very careful about how you do it.


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ironpony
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30 Nov 2020, 3:16 pm

Fnord wrote:
ironpony wrote:
Oh okay. When you take a plea bargain...
You have not been paying attention.

DO NOT TAKE A PLEA BARGAIN!

Most of the time, it seems that plea bargains are offered by the prosecution because the prosecution's case is weak or flawed, and if the case goes to trial, there is a good chance of acquittal.  Refusing the plea bargain means that the prosecution has to work harder to obtain a conviction, and a good lawyer will be able to tear a weak or flawed case to pieces, usually resulting in acquittal.

Which would you rather endure: A short trial or a long prison term?


Oh for sure, I am not saying I would take a plea bargain, I just meant hypothetically, if one were to, do you have to describe the specifics of the crime in the plea bargain when confessing?

For example, let's say you are innocent and charged with murder, but you want to take a plea bargain even though you are innocent, hypothetically. When confessing in the plea bargain, what if you have no idea how the murder was committed or what happened? Would this effect the authenticity of the plea, and therefore, will it be a legal problem in the plea?