It was in 2012 that the Supreme Court rule expanded the rights of defendants by re-offering them a plea deal. Such a decision was meant to regulate plea bargaining as well as take control of lawyers whose bad legal advice could have serious consequences for a criminal defendant. The given essay addresses the main issue of the case and discusses opinions towards it, as well as possible outcomes.
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To begin with, it should be mentioned that plea bargains have always been an integral part of criminal justice in that they accounted for 97% of convictions in federal courts (Liptak, 2012). However, in order for this part to function properly, its status should be officially defined. This, in its turn, would allow for defining the function of a lawyer. The reason for such an assumption is that many lawyers provide their defendants with low-quality assistance, which might account for challenges in a plea agreement.
Taking that into account, the Supreme Court clarified some aspects of defining the plea bargaining system as well as the role of lawyers in urging criminal defendants to accept a guilty plea. According to Justice Kennedy, “The negotiation of a plea bargain, rather than the unfolding of a trial, is almost always the critical point for a defendant” (Liptak, 2012, para 14). The main issue in the case concerned the extended rights of defendants in plea bargains. According to it, the accused were allowed to ask for a do-over in case they rejected a favorable plea bargain because of a lawyer’s incompetence.
Even though the majority agreed on the significance of the case, the consensus had not been reached. On the one hand, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, a Law Professor, Wesley M. Oliver, and scholars acknowledged the importance of such a rule in American jurisprudence, saying that it would be a step forward. On the other hand, there was also a dissenting opinion expressed by Justice Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr, Justices Clarence Thomas, and Samuel A. Alito Jr. In particular; Justice Scalia said that such a decision made by the Supreme Court was “a process of retrospective crystal-ball gazing posing as legal analysis” (Liptak, 2012, para 21). She was skeptical about giving a defendant chance to ask for a do-over, claiming that it would undo the results of a fair process.
It is difficult to predict the impact of the case on the criminal law because there are several factors that should be taken into account over the long term. According to Justice Kennedy, plenty of litigation should take place before evaluating the outcomes of such a decision (Liptak, 2012).
Of course, the Supreme Court’s rule on expanding the rights of the accused in plea bargains might appear to be beneficial. In particular, it might lead to an increase in the number of convictions in federal courts as well as an improvement of lawyer service. However, it should also be considered that such a decision might lead to certain complications if many defendants asked for do-overs in cases with rejected pleas. Therefore, in order to minimize such problems, pleas should be made in written form or open court.
To sum up, the realities of criminal justice implied that an action should be taken in the plea-bargaining law. In the given essay, the Supreme Court’s decision on expanding the rights of the accused of do-overs and the main arguments regarding the issue have been discussed along with the possible outcomes. They are providing defendants with a chance to be re-offered. A plea deal might have a mainly positive effect on the American jurisprudence in terms of the increased number of convictions.
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Liptak, A. (2012). Justices’ ruling expands the rights of the accused in plea bargains. The New York Times. Web.