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Why accept plea bargains?

Published March 30. 2013 09:02AM

Dear Editor:

With all the controversy and misrepresentation of the gun control issue, I must comment on a few items.

One point to make right from the start is in the time it take you to read this viewpoint, more people will be killed or injured by drunk drivers or driving under influence drivers, than by gun violence.

There are strict gun laws already on the books in Pennsylvania.

One fact not discussed in the gun debate is the plea bargain process used by the court system. Many of the accused individuals enter into a plea bargain in which the most serious crimes are thrown out (the gun part) and the accused individual pleads guilty to lesser crimes.

In order for a plea bargain to take place, four people must agree to it.

1. The accused

2. defense attorney

3. District Attorney

4. The Judge

The basic reason for a plea bargain is to get the accused out of the court system more quickly and safe money. Jury trials are costly. And in a plea bargain, the District Attorney also gets a conviction rate.

The District Attorney and the defense attorney basically make a deal between them to drop certain criminal charges if the accused pleads guilty to the other charges and save a trial in the court system.

This plea deal is then proposed to the judge who then accepts or denies the deal. Most of the time, the judge goes with the District Attorney and accepts the deal.

An example of this recently happened. In a neighboring county, just a few weeks ago, in an armed robbery case, the gun charge which carried five more years was dropped in a plea bargain and approved by the judge.

If the real focus on gun control is to prevent gun crime then why are the District Attorneys accepting these plea bargains to drop the gun charge and more importantly, whey are the judges accepting them?

Why are the gun control advocates not protesting the courts and the District Attorney for allowing the deals?

The public can research cases in PA or the PA Courts of Common Pleas website.

Vice President Biden stated that if one life is saved, then gun control is worth it.

Am I to believe that people who are killed or injured by gun violence are more important than people who are killed or injured by a drunk or impaired driver? This is how it sounds to me.

If the government wants to control the types of guns magazines and bullets we can buy and the amount we can have, then why do we not have liquor and alcohol control?

If we can save one life by alcohol and liquor control, is it not worth it? How about a one beer limit at any restaurant or tavern? How about a liquor registry that when you go to the state store or beer distributor, a record is kept on your purchases and you have a quota on how much alcohol you can purchase in a year.

If it saves just one life, is it not worth it?

In conclusion, the gun control debate is not about saving lives, which I just illustrated. It is about guns. There are more people killed and injured by other means, than by guns.

When you have the District Attorney and Judges accepting plea bargains and dropping the gun charges of criminals, it is not about guns.

Challenge the District Attorney and the judges to not accept any plea bargains in a gun crime used in the commission of a crime. Make the gun charge stick and hand out the maximum state prison sentences that the law applies.


Robert J. Sikorsky, Aquashicola

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