Victim Input Into Plea Agreements

Both Alabama and Indiana have similar laws in effect.25 In Maine, the prosecutor must inform the court of all attempts to inform the victim of the plea agreement and all objections of the victim to the plea proposal.26 Delaware prosecutors must indicate that the victim was informed of a plea on a reduced charge and that she had the opportunity to discuss the claim prior to entry. In Oregon, the judge is responsible for whether the victim has asked to be heard and heard with respect to oral arguments.28 The court will only accept a plea agreement if the practice of pleading is governed in federal courts by the provisions of Rule 11 of the federal penal code. Under section 11, the courts have a duty to consider the consequences of a guilty verdict with the accused in an open court and to ensure that the accused has voluntarily and fully understood the consequences of such an agreement. More importantly, if there has been a plea agreement, its contents must be disclosed in an open court and the judge has the power to accept or reject it. There are three kinds of promises that a prosecutor can offer to a person being prosecuted: relatively little case law deals with the application of a victim`s right to contribute to a plea. The laws of many states explicitly prohibit remedial measures for non-compliance with victims` rights or find that non-compliance with these rights is not grounds for changing the sentence.37 In addition, victims cannot be allowed to apply for their rights. In 1985, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of Fundamental Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime. The declaration requires prosecutors to provide victims with specific information on various aspects of the criminal procedure, including oral arguments and convictions. The Vermont Supreme Court`s decision was similar.36 In that case, the court dismissed an appeal agreement as too lenient after hearing the victims` testimony. The court found that the prosecutor`s hearing of the victims on the consequences of the crime during the criminal proceedings was not contrary to oral arguments, although the victims requested a harsher sentence during the interrogation than was agreed at the oral argument. The impact of criminal guidelines on prison practices in federal courts is not entirely clear.

The differences between sentences appear to have been reduced as a whole, but empirical surveys indicate that significant differences remain between the types of sentences of judges and district courts in different geographic areas. What is particularly interesting is the impact that the criminal directives have had on the plea process: in this regard, it would appear that the guidelines have, to some extent, reduced the usefulness of an admission of guilt. For example, an empirical study suggests that offenders who are now entering into a plea can reasonably expect a 20% reduction in their sentence, when they expected a reduction of 30-40% before the guidelines were implemented. Despite this development, the application of the guidelines by the federal courts has not significantly reduced advocacy rates. However, it is possible that the exact nature of the oral arguments has changed as a result of the introduction of the guidelines. Similarly, in the Netherlands, formal practices in the information of victims have been included in the guidelines that police and prosecutors must follow (Wemmers, 1999).

Fotos: Kathrin Leisch
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