31 Aug 2022


Plea Bargaining in the Criminal Justice System

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Coursework

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Plea bargaining refers to the process through which defendants agrees with the prosecutors to plead guilty to some or all of the accusations against them in return for concessions. This process enables the prosecutors to direct their focus on other cases, other than the one communicated in the agreement. The prosecutors usually promise the defendants that they would reduce the level of punishment. The defendants are nevertheless expected to indicate remorsefulness if the punishments prescribed to them is to be reduced by the judges ( Lippke, 2011).   

In plea bargaining, the judges are not expected to engage in the pre-trial negotiations, a role that should be carried out between the defendants and the prosecutors. American Bar Association indicates that such judges should not be involved in plea discussions. The role of the judge should thus be that of an external examiner providing guidance to the involved parties. The judge ensures that the plea is well informed and is not entered in from misapprehension. National advisory Commission on Criminal Justice has called for the abolition of plea bargaining ( Lippke, 2011).   

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From the above indications, it is evident that plea bargaining remains an important part of criminal justice mechanism in the United States of America. Often, courts are tasked with handling a high number of cases and plea bargaining enables the judges to speed up case handling especially when it comes to minor cases. More so, judges are expected to act as an independent examiner of factors and they are not involved in plea discussions. As a result, the eventual decisions that they eventually make are independent and not compromised by the discussions involved. The plea bargaining is thus an important approach towards the execution of justice, where serious cases are given more time and attention as compared to the less serious cases. At the same time, the approach guarantees cooperation between offenders and justice system and remorsefulness on the part of the offender ensures that cases of recidivism are minimized in the society ( Lippke, 2011).   


Lippke, R. L. (2011).    The ethics of plea bargaining . Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Plea Bargaining in the Criminal Justice System.


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