30 November 2005

Another Try...

I posted this item (with several others) on 11/26, but with the Thanksgiving holiday and several subsequent posts, it kind of slipped through the cracks. As a lowly 1L, I wanted opinions from "real lawyers" on the policy of this district attorney. Do you think that a No Plea Bargain policy is good for the system?

The state prosecutor in Shelby County, Tennessee added two more violent crimes to his list of violations that he won't make a plea deal for. District Attorney Bill Gibbons now won't negotiate on carjacking and attempted first-degree murder cases. Gibbons hasn't allowed deals in murder, rape and aggravated robbery cases since 1997. Here is his official website


Ken Lammers said...

Notice that his office pre-screens every one of these type of charges before it is filed and "[t]he policy does allow exceptions for factual, legal and ethical reasons."

There are probably far fewer shakey cases brought under this sytem and pretty much every plea bargain comes out of a factual, legal, or ethical reason. Heck, even judicial efficiency can be excused under that rubric. If you have to plead 5 non-injury carjackings so you can try the serial murderer who was caught last month that pretty much falls under "do justice" as far as I'm concerned.

I suspect this is great political rhetoric but I wonder how much impact it has actually had. Most likely, if there was no pre-screening there would be a greater number of deals worked out but that the number pushed to trial would be about the same. I think it's basically weeding the most of the weak/less serious cases out at the begininning rather than doing it through a plea later.

Anonymous said...

Overall, these policies have next to no impact. The office maybe is stopping some cases from being initially charged as carjacking (or whatever). However, they are usually willing fact-bargain when it appears that their case is weaker than first thought, and, quite frankly, there is nothing wrong with this.