The besetting problem of our era, we are insistently told by police and their apologists, is not widespread abuse and other misconduct by law enforcement officers, but increasing “disrespect for authority” that is being abetted by “liberals” and those even more dreadful people called “libertarians.”
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.