Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Robert L. Bing III
Plea bargaining is an admission of guilt in exchange for a reduced charge or sentence. It is arguably one of the most publicized and controversial manifestations of the courtroom. Affecting practically every phase of the criminal justice system, plea bargaining is used as a substitute for jury trials, disposing of almost 90% of criminal cases. Those who favor this type of case disposition argue that without plea bargaining, the entire criminal justice system would collapse under the weight of an excessive caseload. On the other hand, those who oppose plea bargaining argue that it erodes the foundation of the judicial system. The truth, however, is that the viability of plea bargaining is determined by members of the so-called courtroom work group: judges, defense lawyers, and prosecuting attorneys. The point to be made here is that members of this work group determine the prevalence and frequency of plea bargaining. Similarly, one ...