Criminal Procedures

The Criminal Process

What role does a judge have with respect to plea bargaining?

The judge has the option of approving the plea agreement. Many states have laws that provide that the judge must determine that there is a factual basis for the plea. The judge must also determine that the defendant voluntarily accepts the plea agreement. The U.S. Supreme Court made it a constitutional requirement in

Boykin v. Alabama (1969) for judges to ensure that a defendant’s plea of guilty was truly voluntary.

Defendants can sometimes plea bargain down to a more lenient sentence. By doing so, courts can save time and money (iStock).

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