Plea Bargaining Research Paper

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On Trial: Plea Bargaining One of the most conventional and contentious issues discussed in the Canadian legal system is plea bargaining. Its definition varied over the years as people scrutinized every aspect of this matter. The Law Reform Commission of Canada defined it as “any agreement by the accused to plead guilty in return for the prosecutor’s agreeing to take or refrain from taking a particular course of action”. (Plea Discussions and Agreements, p. 66) This given definition of plea bargaining is widely criticized as it seems to imply that a guilty plea is the ultimate goal rather than finding justice which contradicts the purpose of the legal system. The primary concern in regards to this practice is how it seems to undermine the criminal…show more content…
Having a plea bargain offered and accepted would imply that the severity of the victim’s experience has been subverted by the lenient sentence in exchange for either a guilty plea or valuable information or testimony against another criminal. The latter is exactly the case with the infamous ‘Deal with the Devil’ involving Karla Homolka. February 17th of 1993, Karla Homolka was arrested along with her husband Paul Bernardo for several accounts of murder and sexual assault. During the course of the investigation, Homolka made herself to be an abused wife who was an unwilling participant to her husband’s plans. She then struck a deal to testify against Bernardo in exchange for a fixed sentence of twelve years in prison as she pleaded guilty to the charges of manslaughter (Homolka’s Plea Bargain Revealed, 1995 2013) However, videotapes were found later on that showed that she was a more active participant than she had previously claimed. Thus, the Canadian Press dubbed it as the ‘Deal with the Devil’ and it became a widely controversial issue in 1995, when Homolka revealed the details of her previously secret plea bargain negotiations for the first time. The said deal had caused a public uproar and raised a number of long-standing public concerns in regards to such negotiations especially when it involves serious crimes. (Homolka’s Plea…show more content…
The process behind this form of practice is unethical and goes against the purpose of having a justice system. The mere action of offering to prescribe a lighter sentence or charge than the law sets out for a particular crime undervalues the fundamentals of the justice system and the set laws of society. The Law Reform Commission of Canada believes that “justice should not be, and should not be seen to be, something that can be purchased at the bargaining table.” (Plea Discussions and Agreements, p. 4) Yet despite such a claim, that is exactly what plea bargaining comes down to after each side reached an agreement. Often times, these negotiations are what brings injustice to the innocent and the victims and their families. A simple conviction should not be the only goal but truth and

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