The Ohio Supreme Court decided to allow defendants to use plea bargains in order to obtain less severe punishment for their charges.
On Thursday, the top court in Ohio decided to decline proposals to change the current plea bargain system in the state. A plea bargain is an agreement made between the prosecutor and the defendant where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a charge in exchange for more lenient penalties. For example, if an individual was charged with importing and selling illegal drugs in the United States, the prosecution and defendant may agree to have the latter plead guilty to drug possession. This allows both parties to get something out of the agreement.
Those in favor of plea bargains argue that it allows room for negotiations, especially in cases where the evidence might be faulty or the witnesses may not have the full story. Not everyone agrees, however. Some trial court judges believe that plea bargains shake the confidence of the public in the judicial system. They believe that plea bargains undermine the extent of the crime and the punishment it warrants.
Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County Judge, Michael Donnelly, states
Baseless pleas are an affront to the very principles our justice system was designed to promote: that is, truth and justice.
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