Is plea bargaining just an incentive for the accused to plead guilty?
I cannot answer that question and am certainly not in a position to; I can only speculate but judging by one case of a young lady who rejected a plea bargain and unsuccessfully defended her case, it appears that those who lose their cases after rejecting a plea bargain that was offered seem to be penalised.
The young lady in question is Jennifer Mee from Florida. As a nineteen year old she arranged a date with a young man with the intention of robbing him; her two male friends carried out the robbery which ended fatally.
Under Florida law, all participants in a fatal robbery are as equally guilty of the murder as the person who did the actual killing even if they did not have anything to do with the murder themselves.
The one question I would like to know the answer to is, “Why did Jennifer’s lawyer not advise her to take the plea bargain since Jennifer was clearly guilty of murder according to Florida law?’
Whether one agrees with this law, that is the law in Florida, like it or not.
If you are playing sport, it is not the time to be disputing the rules of the game while it is being played.
Jennifer’s lawyer must have known that she was clearly guilty based on the evidence.
She was offered a sentence of fifteen years as a plea bargain for pleading guilty but instead pleaded not guilty.
Jennifer was a twenty year old uneducated lady with little life experience so it is easy to understand why she would have taken the advice of a professional.
She was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
What a difference in sentences, fifteen years for pleading guilty or life without parole for pleading not guilty. Is the latter sentence a penalty for defending herself?
I am no law expert but this does seem to be unethical if not illegal.
The harsh sentence seems to be for defending herself rather than for participating in a fatal robbery.
Here are some facts that need to be considered:
1 Jennifer had no previous conviction
2 Jennifer had no previous record of violence
3 Jennifer had no intention of killing the victim.
4 Jennifer is not responsible for what someone else does with a firearm.
I just cannot fathom why any lawyer would not have advised Jennifer to take the plea bargain since according to the facts of the case she was facing an indefensible charge.
One just wonders whether plea bargains are really ethical because a person is either guilty or not guilty so a plea bargain may actually be taken by someone who is not guilty.
Plea bargains provide an incentive for the accused to plead guilty with the promise of a reduced sentence. Those who decline the plea bargain are penalised for defending the charges.
I asked Jennifer herself why she never took the plea bargain which was offered to her.
She said, “Her lawyer told her they were going to take it to trial.”
No reason was given for this decision but according to Jennifer she was under the impression that life meant 25 years and compared to what she was offered in the plea bargain she may as well fight it.
It is true that Jennifer did not kill anyone but, according to Florida law she was as equally guilty of murder as the one who pulled the trigger even though she or the other guys involved in this crime never ever intended to kill the victim.
How then could Jennifer’s lawyer not see that? That is a question that I will probably not get an answer to