The Plea Bargain Trap

The Plea Bargain Trap

CLE Hours: 
1.5
CLE Credit: 
Substantive
Course Level: 
Intermediate

The vast majority of criminal cases (more than ninety percent) are resolved outside of the trial process through the plea-bargaining process ending in a guilty plea. Proponents of the current plea-bargaining system enshrined in the criminal justice system would argue that it allows criminal defendants options, saves time, saves money, and the criminal justice system would collapse without it. However, critics argue that the rush to resolve criminal cases through plea bargaining jeopardizes the constitutional rights of defendants, who may be pressured to plead guilty when they are not guilty. In particular, those defendants without adequate means to hire private attorneys. The objective of this presentation is to discuss the history of the plea bargaining system, provide an overview of the current system, recognize the benefits and inherent problems with the plea bargaining system, and how legal professionals can assist criminal defendants when faced with a plea bargaining dilemma. 

Instructor(s): 
Robin Jefferson Higgins