Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Plea bargaining is a procedural mechanism through which the prosecution and defense in a criminal proceeding can reach an agreement for the disposition of a case, subject to the approval of the court. The agreement may take several forms, but usually requires the defendant to plead guilty to one or more offenses. In exchange, the prosecutor drops other charges, accepts that the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser offense, and requests a certain sentence for the defendant or does not oppose the defense's sentence request. In the United States, under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, rule 11 requires that the court ensure that the plea agreement is intelligent and voluntary and determine that there is a factual basis for the plea. Nevertheless, the judge must not participate in plea negotiations. There are different kinds of plea agreements, but the two main types are charge bargains—in which the prosecutor sentencing ...