§ 8.31 F. Respect the Court's Interests
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If counsel has reached a safe haven agreement with the prosecution, most judges will go along, since that minimizes their workload, by signing on to a settlement reached between the parties. They also often trust the adversarial system and will assume the best resolution has emerged from the agreement of the two opposing parties. Other judges, however, may pose difficulties even where the prosecution has agreed to a safe haven.
Most judges were formerly prosecutors, often career prosecutors, and share the outlook and values of the prosecution. They also, however, feel some allegiance to the goal of fairness. In general, approaches that work with prosecutors will be successful with the court.
Counsel must make sure, as much as possible, the court will accept the plea bargain reached between prosecution and defense, since a plea bargain is meaningless unless the judge will accept it. Throughout the process of plea bargaining counsel must conduct appropriate research about the presiding judge’s likely disposition to the proposed bargain and advise the client accordingly. In this regard, counsel should find out: (1) whether the judge’s acceptance of the plea will depend upon his review of a presentence investigation report; (2) whether the judge is willing to implement a non-removable disposition agreed upon between prosecution and defense.