Although plea bargaining has not been openly recognized or sanctioned by most courts, it has become quite widespread and effective. Due to this lack of formal recognition, no uniform plea bargaining procedure has been developed, but generally, an accused is encouraged to plead guilty in exchange for some concession, the most familiar being a promise by the prosecutor to ask the court for leniency. Such concession is far from being the only "reward" offered by the state; indeed, if it were the only one, the practice would not have flourished as it has. Depending upon the particular laws of the forum, the prosecutor may agree to a guilty plea to some lesser included offense; dismiss the remaining charges for a plea of guilty to one of multiple courts; promise not to press charges against a friend or accomplice; or agree not to charge the accused under any applicable habitual offender law. In some localities the bargaining is not limited to the prosecutor, permitting the judge also to participate.
Plea Bargaining: The Case for Reform,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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