The Importance of Plea Bargaining in Criminal Trials


Screeech! That is the sound of our court system coming to a grinding
halt, if plea bargaining were no longer utilized. Not only does plea bargaining
save taxpayers an enormous amount of money, it often provides the evidence for a
conviction and allows public defenders and other court officials to concentrate
their limited resources on more important or difficult cases. Some people may
believe that plea bargaining with criminals is wrong. The entire basis of the
argument against plea bargaining says that criminals should not testify or have
anything to do with the prosecution because they were involved with the crime.
We fail to realize that without plea bargaining many criminals would never be
punished for their crimes at all. It is as simple as that. Granted, a plea
bargain is, by definition, a compromise. But it is a compromise that is
absolutely necessary for the judicial system to function. While it may seem
that a person who exchanges his testimony for a lighter sentence would have
sufficient motivation to lie in court the fact is that his testimony is simply
verifying the testimonies of other witnesses. In a majority of cases plea
bargains is utilized to ensure that the truly guilty criminal is punished. In
our less than perfect world, plea bargaining is easily the lesser of the evils.

I agree with the definitions submitted by the affirmative speaker.

Americans have always emphasized getting a job done. We place a great
deal of value on efficiency and industry. The government is expected to run
with efficiency and operate with the good of the people in mind. Every aspect
of our lives is governed by this utilitarian value. Why do we place such
importance on efficiency? Because without it nothing would ever get done. If
we all constantly obsessed over minute details and unrealistic ideals we would
live in poverty. In the real world compromises are made because without them no
amount of success could ever be achieved. In the words of John Stewart Mill,
the father of utilitarianism, "The creed which accepts as the foundation of
morals utility, or the greatest happiness principle, holds that actions are
right in proportion as they promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the
reverse of happiness". This means that in a world of compromise, the most
success is achieved by giving the greatest good to the greatest number of people.


This belief applies directly to plea bargaining. In this case, the most
justice must be given the greatest number of criminals. Currently in the state
of New York, 79% of all first degree murder cases are plea bargained. Without
plea bargaining, many of these criminals would never even see a jail cell.
Barry Kinsey, a sociologist at The University of Tulsa, said "Without plea
bargaining the court's could not function unless there were drastic increases in
budget allowance" . The courts are at present full and running over and if all
the cases were to be tried the courts budgets would have to be increased by 900%
(according to Tom Wallace, a public defender from Baltimore, Maryland).

It is also important to consider the length of time that would be
required to try every person indicted for a crime. With the courts as over
burdened as they are, taking every case to trial could clog up the courts almost
indefinitely. Since every person in this country is guaranteed a speedy trial
(courtesy of the sixth amendment), banning plea bargaining without tremendous
budget increases would violate the constitutional rights of those accused.

The affirmative speaker believes that plea bargaining does not reveal
the truth. He has said that there is often lying and inaccurate accounts of the
truth as a result of plea bargaining. I believe that the opposition is wrong.
There may be cases where there is lying but every part of the court system will
have a little of that. The affirmative speaker has totally contradicted himself.
He stated that plea bargaining is when a person admits to his crime and
therefore is rewarded with a lighter sentence. Is the affirmative side saying
that criminals admit to other crimes than what they have done. It appears to me
that he is stating that a person who is charged for a crime is admitting to a
totally different crime. Therefore he will be sentenced for that crime and
still go through his original trial. Second of all he said that most of the
time the actual truth is known, if it is how is this accused person going to lie.
I am saying that plea bargaining definitely reaches the truth and that is one
reason why it is used because