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Plea Bargaining, Reliance, and Sex Offender Restrictions

Judges often refer to a plea deal as subject to the rules of contract law. However, when judges make that statement, they usually backtrack and realize how poorly contract law operates in the criminal domain. The role of the judge as a third party to the deal as well as a lack of normal consideration are particularly difficult to square with typical contract rules. The ongoing struggle in plea deals involving sex offenders is particularly illustrative of how plea bargaining sometimes operates in an environment of anarchy. Full Commentary

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  1. http404

    I’d go so far as to say here in California you are a fool to accept a plea agreement. Because of how the State Supreme Court replied in Doe v. Harris, that is a contract the state has the power to amend to say whatever they want anytime in the future. So if someone is faced with being charged with a serious crime of a sexual nature, they can take their chances and call the DA’s bluff on threats of a more severe sentence if they go to trial and lose, or take a lesser guaranteed sentence that also gives authorities a “blank check” to write in any amount of blood, sweat and tears they may require of you as part of your PC290 obligations and restrictions.

    • Q

      http404

      They call lies truth and truth lies. The men on the supreme court that did this are men not worthy of the honors they and their kind bestow on themselves. I’ll bet their father is proud of them. My Father has hated their kind from before they were in the womb.

    • ab

      There are major differences between state and federal plea agreement processes. At the federal level few cases, let alone sex offense cases go to trial. Depending on the charge(s), wether or not they are federal, state or both, and the mitigating factors in the instant case will largely determine the possible benefits of a plea agreement. No matter what I agree with you and the main point of the article which is the insane retroactive effect new laws have in expanding the scope of registration requirements that places previously non-existent restrictions on offenders from years ago.

  2. JM

    Plea agreement vs. Trial
    Eleven years ago our son was accused of a crime he did not commit. He was offered a plea agreement in which he would plead guilty to one count, serve 3-6 months in jail. He refused. So, the D.A. then increased the counts to 5, they continued the case for almost two years, and of course the jury found him guilty. The attorney fees were enormous, and he was sentenced to prison.
    Although I think everyone should go to trial, this is why they don’t. Our son truly believed that justice would prevail, now we know differently. It’s a hard price to pay.

  3. Tim

    When one is required to register, one becomes a ward of the legislatures, to do as they see fit within boundaries that have been made very vague by the courts. It is like being sentenced to prison, where you are under the executive branch special rules existing at the prison. The difference in my view is that one has a right to petition the prison to address inhumane treatment. That right seems very restricted or non existent when the legislature is in charge. There the registrant is not an individual, but a member of a class. It is blatantly discrimination at its heart. I don’t know how the courts can turn around reality, what most people see as obvious: registration is punishment and for most of the ignorant public, they want it because of that.

  4. Someone who cares

    If he was offered 3-6 months jail, he was obviously not deemed a threat to society, so how can a jury convict him? That is what is wrong with the system. They offer deals because they know the person is pretty harmless. It is a nasty game they are playing. As to the registry and not only the offender but also their family being “punished”, what can be done as a group? We have a huge number, so why can’t we get someone to see that many innocent people are suffering because of the registry. That alone is punitive, and on top of that to those who had nothing to do with the offense. They ARE being discriminated against. If it wasn’t punitive, how can it get you back in jail by simple things as forgetting to notify within 5 days of a move, change of employment, etc. What about those on the registry who are 80 years old? Dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc, and they still get punished? If I told my kid to write an essay because he did not eat his meal, but I don’t want it to be punishment, I can’t later send him to bed early because he did now write the essay, as it was only meant for his own good. It is so hypocritical. If someone suffers, it becomes punishment. There usually is power in numbers, right?

  5. Brubaker

    The sense of fair justice and President Kennedy ended at the same time….you don’t know this lesson until you’ve been through it….they can manipulate evidence…frame set-up evidence in the very trial you’re suppose to receive a guaranteed fair one….they can remove evidence to your innocence and blatantly instruct jury with false evidence and public funded personnel go along with it without review investigate to correct….crooked mf …crooked……..for anyone who has to defend themselves from an alleged accusation …get the best plea bargain …..the very best and for sure plea to something not registered…….crooked county is orange county….personnel were repeatedly asked to correct record and they protected their own of major misconduct/crime.

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