Must Binding Plea Bargain Agreements be Honored By Judge ?
A binding plea agreement is like a contract. If the prosecutor offers something to a criminal defendant in exchange for the plea, and the defendant accepts, an agreement is formed. Here is one court has said regarding an agreed plea bargain.
"A plea agreement is, of course, a contract between a criminal defendant and the State in which each seeks to gain a benefit and, in return for such benefit, each agrees to pay a price. It is a very special contract,..... the entire package may be submitted to a criminal court for its approval and its subsequent enforcement. If it should then be the enforcing authority (to wit, the court) that commits a breach of the contract, what evenhanded justice requires is that each of the primary contracting parties....is equally entitled to seek a remedy" 1
If the Judge agrees to go along with what the prosecutor and defendant have agreed to, a process called "binding", and the Judge commits himself or herself to that disposition, the defendant is entitled to have the agreed upon sentence imposed, and to have it enforced if it is not imposed.
-This Legal Guideline was updated by Eric Kirk on 2/7/19.
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