Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 8.18 3. The Court

Skip to § 8.

For more text, click "Next Page>"

The court’s role in plea bargaining varies widely, depending on the jurisdiction.[61]  In federal court, the judge’s role is very limited, for fear the judge will coerce a plea.[62]  In many states, courts routinely pressure one side or another in order to encourage settlement of cases. 


                Ordinarily, if prosecution and defense reach agreement on a disposition, the court will acquiesce.  On occasion, however, a judge will see plea bargaining to avoid deportation as somehow improper, as if it were thwarting the will of Congress.  It is therefore important to make sure the court will agree to a non-deportable disposition before entering a plea.

[61] See, e.g., Alschuler, The Trial Judge’s Role in Plea Bargaining, 76 Colum. L. Rev. 1059 (1976); D. Rossman, Criminal Law Advocacy: Guilty Pleas § § 8.02, 8.04 (1983); Annot., Judge’s Participation in Plea Bargaining Negotiation as Rendering Accused’s Guilty Plea Involuntary, 10 ALR 4th 689; see also 56 ALR Fed. 529.

[62] Vasquez-Ramirez v. US Dist. Court for the S. Dist. of California, 443 F.3d 692 (9th Cir. Apr. 6, 2006) (once a prosecutor brings charges against a defendant, Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 requires judge to accept defendant’s guilty plea to those charges, regardless of whether the judge feels prosecutor’s charging decision was too aggressive or too lenient).