Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Guilty Plea Agreement

Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Guilty Plea Agreement

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. This new institution refers to a regulation, as we shall see below, which has no counterpart in the Romanian classic criminal procedural law. It was borrowed from other criminal procedural legislation and we consider that its registration among the institutions of the Romanian procedural code is not very inspired, because - as you will see below - a guilty plea agreement is contrary to a principle already established in our legislation, namely that the rules of criminal procedural law must be interpreted strictly.

Keywords: guilty plea agreement, amount of punishments, limits of punishment, written form

Guilty plea agreement is a new institution

The regulation is somehow atypical for the Romanian criminal law, which we showed that is based on strict interpretation and it is characterized by a very careful and correct implementation of its rules.

In this context, the agreement we shall talk about below, appears as an "understanding" between the investigator and the investigated, in terms of a specific criminal file. The aim of the legislature for the enactment of this institution is, apparently, that of speeding up the settlement of a case, which in our opinion means "an abdication" to the rule according to which efficiency should not be in any case preferred to the quality of the prosecution acts, in each case. Getting over these considerations, which represent a point of view of the authors, let us further examine this new institution.

Thus: In accordance with Article 478 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP), during prosecution, after the initiation of the criminal proceedings, the defendant and the prosecutor may conclude an agreement, as a result of the admission of guilt by the defendant.

The effects of the agreement are subject to the approval of the prosecutor hierarchically superior to that employee participating at its conclusion. It must be said that the agreement in question can be initiated both by the prosecutor and the defendant (Art. 478 paragraph 3 CCP), but it should be noted that the limits of the conclusion of this plea agreement must bear the endorsement - by previous written notice - of the hierarchically superior prosecutor. By examining the two texts we can draw the conclusion that before the agreement is concluded, the prosecutor who "negotiates" must be in possession of a preliminary notice of his head.

If a case there are more criminals, one can conclude an individual agreement with each of those who wish to do so and meet the requirements of the law which enables them - procedurally - to proceed to such an agreement. One last provision of the Article 476 CCP refers to the fact that juvenile defendants cannot enter such a plea agreement.

The object of the agreement is the recognition of committing the crime and the acceptance by the defendant of the legal classification for which the criminal proceedings were set in motion, but it also refers to the type and amount of punishment, and to the form of implementation. 1

We have shown that, in order to conclude a guilty plea agreement, certain conditions must be met. Of these, we have shown the first two: criminal prosecution must be set in motion and the offender must be of the legal age at the time when he/she committed the crime. In addition, the offense must be sanctioned by fine or prison sentence with the upper limit of 7 years. It is also necessary that at the time when the plea agreement is concluded, sufficient data showing the existence of the tort for which the prosecution was set in motion and also regarding the defendant's guilt to result from the case. In practice, this provision of the law may create some problems, because there is the possibility that a defendant have a particular "interest" in admitting an offense or more, on the one hand, and on the other a sort of "sufficiency" of the prosecutor in managing all the necessary evidence to find out the truth, as required by law, when the defendant acknowledges having committed the crime. …

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