April 6, 2023


The Black’s law dictionary defines Plea Bargaining as “An agreement set up between the plaintiff and the defendant to come to a resolution about a case, without ever taking it to trial.”

Plea Bargaining saves resources (e.g., time, money, and human resources); hence justice is served for the Plaintiff and Defendant swiftly. It also allows the channeling of the saved resources to other noble causes, speeding the wheels of justice for the entire population and not just for the subject Plaintiffs and Defendants.

In Emily Yoffee’s September 2017 article “Innocence Is Irrelevant, she narrates a story of a lady, Sweatt, who pleaded guilty, despite proclaiming her innocence, to a Class D felony and a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana and its paraphernalia to get a lesser sentence. The Class D felony was reduced to a Class A misdemeanor with a suspended sentence of six months, and the misdemeanor charge was dismissed.

In Emily Yoffee’s aforenamed article and Missouri v. Frye, Plea Bargaining is expressly critiqued. Notwithstanding, what also comes out is the blame placed on the justice system, e.g., public defenders, for the injustices related to Plea bargaining. Therefore, critique on Plea Bargaining arises from poor implementation of the Plea Bargaining process where accused persons are coerced into making confessions for lesser penalties or dropped charges.

However, it is not the Plea Bargaining process that needs fixing but the process’ custodians and its implementation. A stellar example is Carolina v. Alford, where the Court held that one could plead without admitting guilt. The custodians of the Plea Bargaining process need to be checked, and effective systems need to be put in place to actualize the full potential of the Plea Bargaining process of representing justice.

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