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WCBE News

SUPCO Declines To Change Plea Bargain Rules

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The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a proposal to end courtroom deals that allow defendants to plead to lesser crimes that bear little resemblance to the facts of the original charge. Cuyahoga County judge Michael Donnelly has taken issue with deals reducing rape or sexual assault charges to assault or kidnapping. Donnelly is one of many trial court judges who say such pleas undermine public confidence in the justice system because the seriousness of a crime isn't reflected in the end result. Opponents of the practice include prosecutors and defense attorneys. They say the reality of sometimes flawed evidence and uncertain witnesses requires creative negotiations.