Guilty Pleas Plea Bargain vs. No Plea Bargain

“Eric Carpenter, a former Army lawyer who teaches law at Florida International University, said a naked plea can be advantageous by allowing the defense to refrain from agreeing to certain facts that it might otherwise have to concede to under a plea agreement.”

This remark was made in connection with the plea of guilty by Sgt Bergdhal, the soldier who left his post in Afghanistan to the detriment of his fellow soldiers. It is a perfect explanation of the advantages of pleading guilty to the entire indictment without a plea bargain known as a “Pimentel” plea in New York, named for the defendant in whose case it was discussed. With a “Pimentel” every issue is in play.

You are better off being sentenced by a mature judge whose job is to mete out justice rather than a young ambitious, testosterone-driven prosecutor lacking maturity and experience who sees life in black and white instead of the more beautifully complicated gray that life generally is.

I once had a case where the prosecutor believed that that the facts did not support a “minor” role reduction for the defendant. I proposed that we leave the issue to the judge to decide. She agreed.

Well came the day of sentencing and the judge gave him the “role” reduction e were seeking. As we were leaving the courthouse the prosecutor asked me how I was so sure that the judge was going to give the defendant him the role reduction. I said, “ Because the judge is my age, an older man with an older man’s experience. He was going to see the evidence as I saw it.”

Obviously in all case you have to use common sense, but as I say all things being equal I would take my chances with a wise judge rather than a smart prosecutor.

Bergdahl received no jail time.

David Zapp and Johanna Zapp

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