Plea Bargaining

Plea bargaining is a process in a criminal case whereby the defendant agrees with the prosecutor to plead guilty (or no contest) in exchange for a reduction in charges or a reduction of sentence. By pleading guilty, the defendant gives up the right to go to trial. Contrary to the widespread belief that criminal cases are usually resolved through jury trials, in reality as many as 95% of criminal cases are handled by plea bargaining. This bargaining process has been viewed by some as a rational one in which the participants take into account both the probability of conviction and the likely sentence if the defendant were to be found guilty at trial; the participants arrive at a bargain that is fair to both sides. ...

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