Date of Award

Spring 1982

Document Type



Political Science & International Relations


Plea bargaining refers to agreements made between prosecutors and defense attorneys in the disposition of criminal cases for various concessions from the prosecutor, such as; a lighter sentence, a dismissal of charges against a loved one who is an accomplice in fact and usually a codefendant in law, or the recommendation of a lenient sentence to the judge. When a defendant negotiates a guilty plea and pleads guilty he relinquishes numerous, fundamental constitutional rights, including the right to remain silent, the right to confront witnesses against him, the right to trial by jury, and the right to be proven guilty by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. A negotiated guilty plea abandons all defenses and jurisdictional objections. This means the defenses of unlawful arrest, invalid arrest, illegal extridition, illegal search and seizure, lack of Miranda warnings by police or prosecutor, interrogation without counsel, lack of intent, self-defense, double jeopardy, and venue objections are not available to the defendant if he seeks post-conviction relief. The nunc pro tunc defenses of insanity, intoxication, and drug addiction are also waived by a negotiated guilty plea. Plea bargaining, once an unpopular, rare practice has become an integral part of the criminal justice system in the past fifteen years over ninety percent of criminal convictions each year. Plea bargaining became an accredited alternative to the criminal trial 'through a series of guilty plea decisions by the United States Supreme Court.

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Legal Theory Commons