There is a case to be made for plea-bargain, many countries use the mechanism as a means to have a more fluid system of justice delivery.
According to nolo.com, for example, Commander O.M. Pyre is charged with 20 counts of burglary after a spree of burglaries in his neighborhood. Assistant District Attorney Art Mills offers to drop the charges to two counts of burglary if Pyre pleads guilty right away. Pyre takes the deal because his sentence will be shorter and he will be eligible for parole earlier than if he were convicted on every charge at trial.
Another fairly obvious benefit that defendants can reap from plea bargaining is that they can save a bundle on attorneys’ fees, assuming they are represented by private counsel. It almost always takes a lot more time and effort to try a case than to negotiate and handle a plea bargain, so defense counsel typically charges a much higher fee if the case goes to trial.
One of the key components of the plea bargain mechanism in the justice system is to move cases along quickly to avoid a bottleneck like that which exist in the Jamaican system.
However, it is important to note that the success of the mechanism as it relates to nations like say the United States of America at the Federal level there is a death penalty statute on the books.
Additionally, Most of the American States have the death penalty as a part of their penal code. Others that don’t have the death penalty, for example: New York State, they have strict laws which make certain crimes punishable by life Imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
On that basis for example when New York state negotiates with a murder arrestee who would normally face the death penalty if he was in Texas, New York begins from the position of life without the possibility of parole.
So the offender who is of value to law enforcement is able to avoid the portion of the law which would lock him up without the possibility of parole yet he is faced with 20 – 25 years before he is eligible for parole.
It is important to note that even then the offender would not be guaranteed re-entry into society unless his tenure while incarcerated is exemplary.
Jamaica with its astronomical murder numbers and clogged up courts system could benefit by using this mechanism if its approached right.
However, Jamaica has chosen to adopt a piecemeal approach to this tried and proven mechanism, spearheaded by the Justice Minister Delroy Chuch a criminal loving liberal who wants murder cases tossed from court dockets if they have been there for more than five years.
The course adopted in Jamaica is one which is known as Sentence Reduction Day. In a nutshell, in order to move cases along the Government declares certain days as is characterized before.
Defendants who take advantage of the deal the Government offers are guaranteed a 50% reduction in their sentence, the people get nothing for that act of good faith.
The Government doesn’t even use the prospect of reducing the sentence of dangerous killers by 50% to demand information on other dangerous criminals.
And so an animal like Phillip Brown, the man who beat his pregnant ex-girlfriend to death inside her Crystal Towers apartment in St Andrew last December, will see his sentence reduced by 50% and the family of the victim gets nothing.
The police get nothing, but because he decided to take responsibility for his barbaric act and the Government is unable to deliver on its most basic function of securing the population and delivering justice in a timely manner, this scum will receive a slap on the wrist.
Now, one could argue that I don’t know what his sentence will be.
Nevertheless, when murder accused are given 7 and 10 years in the same courts for felony murder it does not necessarily engender much confidence that this monster, for example, will be really made to pay for what is essentially a double homicide.
And that ladies and gentlemen is the real issue.
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