Are plea agreements effective in rape cases?

In Case Management, Legal Advocacy on January 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Plea agreements are often made in the prosecution of rape and sexual assault cases.  Pleas or Alford pleas allow for some admission that the evidence is present but also allows for the defendant to not admit guilt.  Sentences are usually suspended with provisions that the offender is placed on a sex offense registry.   In some cases, pleas are made so the defendant will testify against someone in another case or within the same case.

Recently in Caroline County, a man entered an Alfred plea to acknowledge sufficient evidence but to not admit guilt, with a suspended sentence and the task to testify against another.

As I peruse the news, there are several cases around the country where similar cases are handled.  Except in New York.   In a case this month, such sentencing resulted in outrage in the community over leniency in sentencing and a lack of remorse shown in such arrangements.  Here the judge rejects the plea and is forcing a reexamination of the case and recommending the case to go to trial.

While all cases are unique, it does remain a valid question as to what is effective in the prosecution of rape cases.  Are the use of plea agreements with suspended time and non-admission of guilt really punishment?  Are suspended sentences really effective in deterring these offenders from raping again?  What message does this really send our community?

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jessica Lauren, RCASA. RCASA said: Are plea agreements effective in rape cases? : http://wp.me/pAwr3-Ew […]

  2. While plea agreements might save survivors from the devastating ordeal of having to appear in court and testify, anything short of jail time for the offender is not going to be effective. Rapists rape because they enjoy asserting control and degrading their victims, not because they haven’t yet been put on the registry. Locking them up does not change their nature, however, it does take them off the streets – even if only for a little while.


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