"New Plea Bargain Limits Could Swamp Courts, Experts Say" pg. A6
By Adam Liptak and Eric Lichtblau
The New York Times 9/24/03
On September 22nd, Attorney General John Ashcroft introduced a new set of rules that would serve to change the use of plea bargains. In contrast to the previous guidelines where prosecutors were given more responsibilities in determining charges, this new directive would limit the use of plea bargains. Ashcroft believes that this new directive will make the rulings of prosecutions more consistent overall. The columnists points out that reducing plea bargains and reducing instances where criminal cases are settled out of court would put an extra burden on the courts. Criminal cases would more often be drawn out and might slow down the system. An increased number of criminal trials would also be too costly and would put a strain on resources. In the past, Attorney General Dick Thornburgh introduced a similar directive.
It was not very successful because it was not enforced. Also, prosecutors would find and exploit loopholes in these new rules. After all, there are listed scenarios where plea bargains could be used which could be interpreted differently in different cases.
Liptak and Lichtblau show that this set of directives might not be as beneficial as it was intended to be and that its motives would probably be very difficult to achieve. They believe that it would put an unnecessary burden on the courts and could therefore decrease the courts' abilities to be just and efficient. This is obviously the case because there are too many uncertainties and ambiguities. Ashcroft's directive does make sense, and its intentions may be to better the system, but it will not work out when it is actually in action. By past example of Dick Thornburgh, we are shown...