number of bedsIn an elite interview that I had with an individual by the name of Gabriel Frank, who happens to be dealing with a plea bargain case currently, he happens to feel a lot differently than the judge. He feels as though plea bargaining has a long term psychological effect on people who agree to signing them. In his experience and encounters with others, it is often times those who are innocent, but in fear of the mandatory sentencing laws, they relinquish their rights for a shorter amount of time. On the other hand, these individuals do not understand the direct impact that prison has on them until they return back into American society. For example, he is facing a sentence for twenty years due to the fact that his probation officer did not submit his community service paperwork at the time in which it was required and the court feels as though it was his responsibility to inform the judge on his situation. His charge is violation of probation on a burglary of habitation charge, and the range of time that he could receive is anywhere from two to twenty years; however, the prosecutor has approached him with several plea deal offers such as fifteen years, ten years, seven years, five years, two years, and the current offer is six months in a treatment facility and once that it is completed, he is to then complete four months in a halfway house, and finally complete ten months of probation.


imagePlea bargaining can be examined as both a form of dispute resolution and the devices used for sentencing. Around the 1960’s and 1970’s, plea bargains were used as a primary sentencing function; it is arguable that this was to increase the amount of minorities incarcerated during this time of civil unrest. Currently, the defense’s viewpoint is typically one that treats plea bargains as a form of dispute resolution. Defenders suggest that it makes more sense to give both the defendant and the state the option of negotiating legal and factual disputes as well as complying all involved parties to validate transitional dispositions in which both parties escape the risk of litigation. In the 1970’s President Richard Nixon addressed the War on drugs also infiltrating the 1980’s as well. Being that drugs were used by over 70 million Americans between these two decades and approximately eighty percent of those arrested (whether for production, use, intent to distribute, or distribution) were African-Americans. Of those arrested, many were offered and accepted plea bargains to either lessen their sentence or to incriminate another individual This clearly shows that the government’s correlation with law enforcement targets African-Americans especially males resulting in a biased approach to plea bargaining.

hqdefaultThere is also a concern of what charges persons are being placed with. It became abruptly apparent that African-American males were being charged and prosecuted with misdemeanor crimes such as resisting arrest, simple assault, and loitering just to name a few. During President Lyndon B. Johnson’s terms he incurred the Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice noted that almost half of all the arrests in the United States dealt with lesser offenses (not including traffic offenses). This Commission was created to decrease crime from American citizens to others as well as law enforcement. Because this was during the time of the Civil Rights Movement, it was considered that it was designed to help protect African-Americans but was really set in place to protect Law Enforcement. During a time of social unrest it can be argued that even the President that “ended segregation” created an entire system that even through decades of development still has darts aiming for the African-American race. Unfortunately the pattern has not changed to this day showing its aim towards this specific population and specific crimes that in some cases never reveals the truth.

handshake-300x200In the United States, the court system has changed in a drastic way. Plea bargaining has played the role of the judge, the jury, and the attorneys involved in each case. According to Cornell Law, “plea bargains are agreements between defendants and prosecutors where defendants agree to plead guilty to some or all of the charges against them in exchange for concessions from the prosecutor’s.” Those types of agreements are intended to “allow prosecutors to focus their time and resources on other cases, and reduce the number of trials that judges need to oversee.” Although plea bargains are supposed to be helpful for everyone, it seems as though it is only beneficial to those who are collecting money. Roughly ninety percent of the criminal defendants sentenced in state and federal courts plead guilty instead of exercising their right to withstand trial before a court or jury. The practice of plea bargaining includes the offering of concessions in exchange for the defendants’ pleas from the prosecutors and trials judges.

Level4_Politics_and_Government_Judges_Stand_GavelIn the United States of America’s constitution, the sixth amendment guarantees the right to a fair trial, but if most cases have been decided through pleas then how can one determine what is fair and what is not? Most people who are in favor of plea bargaining use the argument that it helps the defendants by giving them options to choose their punishments, on the other hand, those who oppose plea bargaining say that it is a tactic to save time and money. Unfortunately, it seems as though the penal system would fail horribly if cases were actually brought to the court and had to stand trial. They argue that the urge behind trying to get more plea bargaining puts the defendant’s rights that are guaranteed by the constitution who could have possibly been forced or pressured into an admission of guilt regardless of if they are innocent or not.

Plea-bargainingPlea bargaining is often used on those who do not have the monetary means to endure long trials. This is a major point in the argument of. In American society today, the lower socio-economic statuses are infiltrated with minorities; the African-American men among this population are also the highest incarcerated group in both state and federal correction facilities. The claim that plea bargaining and major sentencings are geared towards those who are a part of the socioeconomic level who happen to be African-American and males, is easily supported. The entire plea bargain system is extremely detrimental to the African-American culture and was designed to legally continue enslavement of persons with African ancestry. With scholarly and first hand support this claim will be proven. First hand support is used in the form of interviews which have been chosen because it is more personal and it allows you to analyze the psychological aspects from all parties involved. This study will be completed by conducting elite interviews. Observations that will be made include the viewpoints of three African-American subjects, one represents the political side, one was previously incarcerated, and one is currently being affected by the plea bargain system.

duipleabargainingFor many convicted defendants, the primary purpose of the plea bargaining is for the individual who is receiving the sentence serve a much less charge, that might who have had resulted had it been a conviction at trial. Also, when a defendant accepts a plea bargain, they are more than likely saving money for attorneys and the fees that come along with it. Plea bargaining also comes with the benefits of the defendant may get out of jail early, get the matter done and precisely, have less publicity to the public, and keep the case secret. When an individual goes to trial, the judge sets their own incentives for plea bargain. According to statistics, “For judges the key incentive for accepting a plea bargain is to alleviate the need to schedule and hold a trial on an overcrowded docket.” These incentives makes the case, much easier for the defendant to be content on, but like every other case, plea bargaining can also have negative impacts.