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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Default If the Prosecutor and Defense Lawyer Agree on a Plea Deal Can the Judge Overrule Them

    When both the prosecution and the defense agree on the terms of a plea bargain, can the judge nonetheless overrule the deal?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: If the Prosecutor and Defense Lawyer Agree on a Plea Deal Can the Judge Overrule

    A judge has limited authority to prevent a prosecutor from amending a charge, as the charging decision belongs to the executive branch of government and not the judicial branch. However, when the charge reduction is made as part of a plea bargain, the court can evaluate the plea bargain to see if the deal is consistent with the interest of justice and can reject a deal that it finds to be inconsistent -- so if the judge refuses to go along with the plea bargain, the prosecutor would not be able to make a charge reduction conditional upon the acceptance of the deal. The same applies to the conditional dismissal of some of the counts filed against a defendant who is charged with multiple offenses.

    When it comes to sentence bargaining, as sentencing is the prerogative of the court, most sentence bargains must be approved by the court. It may be possible in some jurisdictions for a sentence bargain to be effectively reached through negotiations between the defense and prosecution over how the sentencing guidelines will be scored, but in most jurisdictions or for non-guidelines offenses it will be necessary for the judge to approve the deal.

    Read this article about plea bargaining.

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