Criminal Procedures

The Criminal Process

Once a prosecutor offers a plea bargain can he or she renege on the deal?

No, the U.S. Supreme Court made clear in Santobello v. New York (1971; see Legal-Speak p. 160) that a prosecutor cannot renege on a plea agreement once the agreement has been reached. The Court explained that a prosecutor must fulfill the promises made to a defendant, writing that: “a constant factor is that when a plea rests in any significant degree on a promise or agreement of the prosecutor, so that it can be said to be part of the inducement or consideration, such promise must be fulfilled.”


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