What authority does a judge have in accepting a defendent's guilty plea in a plea arrangement but negating the condition that it is tied to, such as sentence length, and instead substituting what the judge thinks is appropriate?


Whinge, huh?

The Happy Feminist

TangoMan, if the judge rejects a plea agreement, then the defendant is permitted to withdraw his plea of guilty. It is as though he never pled guilty and the plea is not used against him. In fact, if I recall correctly, the defendant doesn't even enter his plea until the judge decides to accept the plea agreement.


one cultural script that I think is very prevalent is the stereotype of the overzealous prosecutor.

No offense, Happy, but I don't have much sympathy for this. I don't think it's prevalent, for one thing--it's definitely not prevalent among the places I've lived and worked in, which include a wide range of political subcultures, from Texas to San Francisco--and I also happen to think it's got a lot of basis in fact. Especially in the U.S.A.'s criminal "justice" system.

My impression can be summarized as the following: Most people seem to think that if prosecutors are overzealous, they should be (except in rape cases) and that the accused are generally guilty (again, except in rape cases). And most prosecutors seem to agree with this (with, again, the rape caveat, because we all know that poor guy probably didn't do anything to that lying whore).


This is a terribly interesting blog. In my office, we have an ongoing debate about whether prosecutors can or should undergo the sneaky tactics on which defense lawyers often rely: saying something under their breath during the course of trial, sneaking in a comment that they know will be objected to and sustained, arguing in opening despite an expected objection, etc. Does anyone here think that prosecutors have a special duty NOT to make snide remarks to defense counsel before the jury, and not to do any of the sorts of things mentioned above, etc.? Background: I just started as a prosecutor, and I'm curious about general opinions as I find my style of prosecuting. Thanks.


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seattle criminal attorney

Interesting read. I will have to bookmark it for later.

Erin Kuester

Here's a gem for ya...overzealous and litigating everyone that comes in her path.


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