Discussion Topic

Plea bargain - good idea?

Posted on 09/21/10, 04:45 pm
My son insists he's innocent of charges against him. He has told his lawyer he is pleading not guilty. However, I am afraid the lawyer will, at the last minute, try to convince him to take a plea bargain. Trial is set for Oct 18.

What is your experience and advice about plea bargains?
Showing 1 - 10 of 51 Replies
  • Reply #1 09/21/10  5:19pm
    I can tell you now, plea bargains ARE NOT the way to go! It is VERY hard to appeal! Plea bargains are considered a "guilty plea", in which, you basically are saying you did it! Getting an appeal, Post conviction Relief or sentence modification after taking a plea is almost impossible! At least if you go to trial, you can appeal the decision. Not as easy with a plea! Fight for his rights!!!!!! Don't let them take him without a fight!
    That's my opinion!
  • Reply #2 09/21/10  5:38pm
    Don't let him take a plea, I did because I was threatened with multiple felonies, If I knew then what I know now I would have gone trial. The prosecuter will go to any length to "chalk up" a win and if they really have a strong case they wouldn't offer a plea. In a plea he will have to admit he is guilty before the court whether he is or isn't and the record will show that he wasn't found guilty but admitted guilt, a big issue if he decides to appeal. My judge told me that I had 5 days to change my plea but that if I did, he would be less than happy.
  • Reply #3 09/21/10  6:51pm
    I have to agree with everyone, DO NOT plea bargain, but make sure you have a good paid for attorney, because court appointed attorneys bluntly do NOT give a crap about justice. We had no money, a court appointed attorney, and were unaware of the far reaching effects of a plea bargain. My son was told he had TWO chances, plea bargain or prison. Now he is on the sex offender registry until 2029, with no hope of getting off unless there is a major change in the laws, she was 14 instead of 16 like she told my 17 year old son.
  • Reply #4 09/21/10  7:12pm
    Maybe as parents and grandparents, we should urge all our young male family members to insist on seeing a birth certificate before going out with a young woman, Cherokee. Or maybe we should insist on seeing that document for ourselves and then informing the girl's parents or guardians that we will press charges, if their young woman lies about her age and causes our young man any legal problems.
  • Reply #5 09/21/10  7:20pm
    The jury will be sympathetic toward the victim. My husband took the Alford Plea so that in a small amount of time we could get our life back. He got 10 years, with 3 years, 3 mo. to serve (9 months off for the time he was under investigation) 6 years of intensive supervision/probation. There is no easy answer and usually no easy way out. As you probably know, it doesn't matter about evidence/proof. It only takes an accusation in these charges. There is a movie about people who pleaded not guilty and served 20 years or more before getting out/proving their innocence. It is called "Witch Hunt" and is narrated by Sean Penn. I watched it. It can be rented. It is extremely enlightening. Try to keep the media out of it, do not consent for them to release any information. Personally I asked for work release for my husband and counseling. It didn't happen that way, but at least I asked. The Plea Bargain was my advice to him and we are "happy" with our choice. Please encourage your son to rethink his current decision. He could possibly get even less than my husband got, depending on the charges against him. The con of the plea bargain is that you cannot appeal it. It does not require an admission of guilt from the defendant.
    I'd want to get it over as soon as possible.
  • Reply #6 09/21/10  7:46pm
    Familysoldier, was your husband innocent?
  • Reply #7 09/21/10  8:01pm
    My husband was innocent, he refused to plea bargain believing the truth would come out in court. His court appointed attorneys (3 in a two day trial) provided NO defense for him. He spent 10 years in prison and will be on the sex offender list here in SC for life, unless we can get the situation remedied. We still have no money, which makes it difficult, but are working on getting trial transcripts etc. and do have the option to do what we can to exhonerate him since he didn't plea bargain.
  • Reply #8 09/21/10  8:10pm
    I came across a good suggestion while commenting on an article today. Someone suggested that when a young man is arrested for statutory rape, or accused by a young lady, that they both submit to a lie detector test, to prove who is telling the truth, then punish the young lady if SHE fails. Many sex offenders are required to submit to a yearly lie detector test as part of their registration process, so it should also be useful under the aforementioned circumstances. It would certainly be a lot cheaper for taxpayers than encarcerating young men and monitoring them for years afterward. Maybe it would even have the collateral effect of making young ladies aware of what their actions have done to so many innocent young men and rethinking their motives.
  • Reply #9 09/21/10  8:11pm
    I refuse to let my husband take a plea bargain... i truly and honestly realize that what means, and that the out come is in the hands of someone else, but I do now want him pleading guilty for something he didn't do. We have HIRED an attorney, so he is not a court appointed attorney...and I am praying he is well worth the money we are trying to come up with. I have realized in listening to other stories, that those who took a 'plea bargain' usually had court appointed attorneys....but not always. My children need their father. And what does it show them if their father takes a plea bargain and admits to something he didn't do. Its a rough road ahead when the trial comes up next month, but I cannot accept it if he accepts a plea.
  • Reply #10 09/21/10  9:05pm
    Coastie, you wrote, "A prosecuter will go to any length to "chalk up" a win and if they really have a strong case they wouldn't offer a plea."

    Very interesting! So it's actually a good thing to have the prosecutor offer a plea bargain! But that should actually be a signal to NOT accept a plea bargain! Very helpful, indeed!


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