Should Plea Bargains Be Legal?

Courtesy of Unsplash

Courtesy of Unsplash

Nicolina Bilella, Staff Writer

After following enough criminal cases,  you may notice some have gotten an unfairly long sentence or the opposite, where someone is given an incredibly short sentence.  This could be due to what is called a plea bargain.

A plea bargain, according to nolo.com is “a decision between the defendant (the guilty or innocent party) and the prosecutor (the person who presents their consequences) where depending on what the party pleads, can get one or no charges dropped causing a lesser sentence. “

According to Aizman Law Firm, about 90% of all criminal cases close off with a plea bargain.  As far as New York is concerned, Michael Kramer Attorney At Law, explains, “plea bargains are very common and are good for not just getting a lesser charge, but also time and money of not going through a trial.”

However, no matter how great that sounds there is a chance someone isn’t getting the backhand of justice.  Someone may be given some slack for shoplifting or certain examples of disorderly conduct, (loitering, being drunk in public, trespassing, etc.) but that’s not considering the opposite side of the coin.   Plea bargains for major crimes or crimes that account for the defendant to get a higher sentence can’t one outweigh those between a monster getting what they deserve.

Here are some examples of cases where some plea bargains released the accused back into society earlier.

John Edward Green Jr.  This man was accused of robbing and shooting Huong Thien Nguyen in her driveway in front of her children and injuring her sister.  The woman later died, yet his innocence is being debated.  According to  chron.com in their article, “Man dodges chance at execution, accepts 40-year term.”  The cause of the shortened sentence is a plea bargain at the last minute.  According to the above article, he pleaded guilty to a lesser murder charge for 40 years in prison.  Surprisingly the defense team accepted that.  As said by Casey Keirnan, one of Green’s attorneys, he will have the chance of parole (being set free temporarily or permanently for good behavior) after 20 years.  From now that’s about 12 years left until he’s a free man. 

Kerian Brown was recently being “held accountable” for his crime.  At first he was insistent on pleading innocent; however, he then changed his mind.  Brown was accused of the murder of Kaylee Ann Brock and Julie Ann Mooney.  The original charge according to lansingcitypulse.com was possibly going to be two counts of first degree murder which as said by findlaw.com one charge is guaranteed to result in life in prison without the chance of parole.  However, that could explain why Brown pleaded guilty as murder in the second degree results in the maximum of life in prison and the minimum as 15 years.  Lansingcitypulse.com estimates that he will have the median of that, (not including the parole) which for Brown (a 27 year old, young man) would most likely live to be set free.  On the contrary Brown’s family argued against this plea bargain, (resulting in more time for their brother, son, cousin, etc.) but the prosecutor Carol Siemon was against this having a bias that people can change and didn’t let Brown’s family influence her.  However Sherif Scott Wrigglesworth agrees with Brown’s family and describes his supposed crimes as one of the “most gruesome homicides he ever investigated”.

Who’surdaddynj aka Gregory Stewart aka The Supreme Predator from To Catch A Predator obtained a life of parole and registration as a sex offender after pleading guilty.  A video has been posted to the Youtube channel titled Saul 6 months ago.  It most likely didn’t take place then because of COVID which contradicts with their setting of the beach.  The ending blurb of information tells the date of March 31st 2007.  

The real question is which crimes should allow plea bargains?  If there are cases in which “people” may not deserve an inferior sentence, then one would think that lesser crimes should fall under area for plea bargains.  Well, there seems to be some corruption with that flip side.  

“Pleading Guilty is the highest form of self-incrimination in America” ”

— -Rice, Murtha & Psoras Trial Lawyers (ricelawmd.com)

Criminal cases are under public record so one’s plea shape your reputation; so if you plan on pleading guilty for a lesser sentence, the crime sticking with you for life may not be worth it.  Depending on the crime, the effects may include not being able to own a firearm, a house, or a driver’s license.  You may most likely have little luck with acquiring most high paying jobs, and heavier punishment in a future crimes.  

Trying a case can function successfully without a parole, but one substitute for a plea bargain is a term called parole.  Parole is the opportunity to get out of jail earlier than one’s initial sentence.  This opportunity is earned from generally good behavior in jail and appearing in front of a parole hearing consisting of the parole board.  As said by the Department of Corrections and Community Services, the parole board is made up of 15 members appointed by the governor, but is also approved by the Senate.  If the convict successfully gets granted parole, they are still under supervision of the jail and have to go to routinely visits with a parole officer.  Nolo.com considers parole as a right instead of a privilege and the parole board or prison authorities denying some parole backs that claim up.  So one can’t expect murderers being let back on the street scott free.  

With a system screws over the guilty and innocent, (one shouldn’t say that for the guilty because anyone in that situation would dream of getting an unfairly decreased sentence) anyone could agree that plea bargains may not be the way to go in terms of what is morally righteous or moral common sense.