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Plea Bargaining: A Broken System

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Member since April 1, 2018
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Currently, in the criminal justice system, people like Shanta Sweatt are overlooked and ignored. Sweatt, who was accused of dealing drugs, when it was really her "boyfriend" doing so.

Even though everybody around her, even those in the criminal justice system, knew that she was innocent, she was still forced to take a plea bargain. Because it forces innocent people to pretend they are guilty, plea bargaining is clearly an inherently flawed system within the current criminal justice system today. In fact, 97% of court cases are solved through plea bargains, a method used to simply "expedite" the process of a trial.

Although often plea bargains take away the strain of caseloads upon the court, they take away from the purpose of the criminal justice itself: to provide a fair trial for all citizens. Thousands upon thousands of innocent people within the United States are forced to plead guilty, and take a short sentence. People might say that taking a plea bargain is a choice, but prosecutors have a little too much power in the system. They are able to threaten, or "coerce" many citizens into accepting these bargains through threats of longer sentences. This is because many people, between 70 to 98 percent, to be exact, are unable to afford themselves a lawyer, and are forced to resort to public defendants. Public defendants are often overworked, and unwilling to put in the time and dedication to protect their defendants, so often they too encourage their clients to accept.

America is a country that is founded on the principles of democracy. However, when thousands of Americans are unable to receive the justice they deserve, we no longer are standing for justice, but rather for efficiency. The criminal justice system was given its name for a reason, and that reason is not how efficiently it functions.

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