Nathan Wente Archive
Nathan Wente is a former prosecutor turned defense attorney. While attending law school in California, Wente clerked in the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office for 2 years. After graduation he moved to Northern California and began working as a Deputy District Attorney in Siskyou County. Wente was employed there for nearly 3 years before resigning his position to become a defense attorney. Wente’s primary motivation in switching from the role of a prosecutor to a defense attorney was, generally speaking, his disgust with Government operations and their refusal to respect civil rights. In short, it was Wente’s impression that Government's primary goal was to make arrests and get convictions, whatever the cost. Email this author.
Plea bargaining is the process whereby a prosecutor comes to an agreement with a defendant to resolve a criminal case. Roughly 90 percent of all criminal cases resolve through the process of a plea bargain. The plea bargain is a contract of sorts, and the terms of the agreement often may vary considerably from one case to another.
A plea bargain will always include the defendant’s pleading guilty to at least one crime. What varies is the crime pleaded to or the punishment imposed. For example, a plea bargain occurs when a defendant is charged with two separate crimes, and he pleads guilty to one in exchange for a dismissal of the other. A plea bargain also occurs if the prosecutor offers a specific punishment and the judge agrees to it in exchange for the defendant’s pleading guilty. There are many variables that affect plea bargaining; however, the common thread in all plea bargaining is that the government avoids the burden of a jury trial and the defendant gets, in theory, a more favorable resolution of his case.