What is a plea deal?
According to https://www.justice.gov/usao/justice-101/pleabargaining:
When the Government has a strong case, the Government may offer the defendant a plea deal to avoid trial and perhaps reduce his exposure to a more lengthy sentence.
A defendant may only plead guilty if they actually committed the crime and admits to doing so in open court before the judge. When the defendant admits to the crime, they agree they are guilty and they agree that they may be “sentenced” by the judge presiding over the court — the only person authorized to impose a sentence. Sometimes the Government will agree, as part of a plea agreement, not to recommend an enhanced sentence (such as additional time in prison for certain reasons) but it is left up to the judge to determine how the defendant will be punished.
If a defendant pleads guilty, there is no trial, but the next step is to prepare for a sentencing hearing.
Hazing scandal involving six older football players of a high school
Last year, New Jersey’s top-performing high school football team was the center of a hazing investigation scandal after a video surfaced reportedly showing upper-class players using a broomstick to pin down a younger victim ‘with the intent of sodomy.’
Outraged parents also made claims that some of the coaches were fully aware of the hazing culture and harassment present within the team and failed to report the assaults to authorities.
Some charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain.
As reported on April 1, 2022 (see link below), at least five of the seven players, charged in November last year, agreed in separate family court proceedings in Superior Court this month to plead guilty to juvenile charges of hazing and harassment, according to two sources familiar with the matter who asked not to be named due to its confidential nature. Under the terms of those deals, approved by Judge Ellen Torregrossa-O’Connor, charges of criminal sexual contact and false imprisonment were immediately dismissed, the sources said.
Should one enter into a plea bargain?
Plea bargaining has practical prudence that allows defendants to avoid or reduce the time and cost of defending themselves at trial and possible harsher punishment. At the same time, the prosecution gets a conviction without a lengthy trial and saves time and money.
If a charged person feels he might be convicted or face harsher punishment or has an offer to accept the lesser charges in exchange for dropping serious charges, he/she should consult his/her lawyer immediately. He will be in the best position to advise him/her whether to go for a plea bargain or not.
You need a good lawyer to defend you.
If you have been charged with a serious offense, the Law Offices of Joel Silberman, LLC can help you to pursue the justice you deserve, including a good plea bargain.
For years, attorney Joel Silberman served as an Assistant Prosecutor with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. During this time, Attorney Joel litigated hundreds of cases and appeared before the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division on multiple occasions.