Can they take back a plea bargain? 8 Answers as of July 01, 2013Hi my friend had a public defender, the defender and prosecutor reached a plea bargain with my friend. They presented it to the judge. She called out the prosecutor to make sure he plea was correct. Then a cop in the court room (security) pulled the prosecutor aside and basically told him to not let my friend off on the charge that was being dropped with the plea bargain. The cop, public defender, and prosecutor all go into the other room and when they come back out, the defender and prosecutor tell the judge they want to charge my friend with all of the charges. How can some random person change their minds without withholding evidence or knowing something? How can they take back a plea bargain that was already presented to the judge? Please help we don't have money for a lawyer and this sounds unlawful !!
Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
Until the deal is heard and signed off by the judge in a formal plea and finding of guilt, and sentence is imposed, anything goes, and the deal can be amended or altered as seen fit by the judge. I do find the "back door" tactics used by the bailiff in the courtroom as extremely questionable and improper, he was not an interested party in the proceedings, I would assume. I agree that the deal should have gone down as originally worked out, but strange things certainly can occur, and as they say: "It ain't over til it's over!"
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
Was your friend advised as to what the deal was that he was pleading to? If not there may be a motion to withdraw the plea, depending on some factors, including when the plea was entered. Sounds unfortunate that a plea offer was withdrawn. It can happen, and judges can even try to block plea agreements reached between prosecutor and defense counsel.
Answer Applies to: California
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
Until the Judge approves a plea bargain, there is no deal. The cop involved in the situation had the right to let the prosecutor and judge know that he objected to the plea. He is not a "random third person". Obviously, he had an interest in the case, and the prosecutor obviously agreed with him. This is not the end of the world-it is still possible that a plea bargain can be reached, but the terms may differ. Your friend has a public defender, and it is the job of the public defender to continue to attempt to negotiate a favorable plea and/or defend your friend at trial. Of course, your friend might be better off with private legal counsel, but public defenders usually do a good job for their clients.
Answer Applies to: New York
Meadows & Howell, LLC | Brad Howell
The prosecutor can decide to proceed with the charges by going to trial and seeking a conviction, or they can decide to offer some form of plea bargain. A plea bargain is not formally entered until the judge signs it. If a prosecutor withdraws the plea bargain before the judge can review and sign it, there is nothing unlawful that has occurred. It sounds as if the prosecutor was willing to drop one charge due to not having enough evidence to pursue that charge at trial. However, it apparently was brought to the prosecutor's attention that he missed something, and that there was in fact enough evidence to pursue the charge at trial. While it's unfortunate that the prosecutor was not thorough enough to insure that his offered plea bargain was acceptable, the prosecution has the ability to move forward with the charges if it does not want to negotiate any sort of deal.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
Your friend should express his or her concerns to the attorney the public defender assigned. If he or she is not satisfied with the attorneys response, then he or she should not plead guilty. He can also raise his or her concerns with the judge. It's not a deal, until it has been accepted in court. The deal should be evaluated based upon whether it's better or worse than going to trial.
Answer Applies to: Maryland