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Sexual Assault: Can it be pled down Essay Sample

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Sexual Assault: Can it be pled down Essay Sample

The main crux of the argument is whether to accept the Alford plea made by defense counsel. The plea was named after Henry Alford, who in 1963 faced murder charges in Forsyth County, North Carolina (Andrea Weigl, 2007). Alford’s lawyers believed that he was going to be convicted by the jury, though Alford maintained his innocence (Weigl, 2007). He was convinced by his counsel to plead down to second degree murder (Weigl, 2007). In his statement, Alford stated that he pled down to avoid possible sentencing with the death penalty (Weigl, 2007).

In 1970, the United States Supreme Court ruled that though the defendant does not plead guilty to the charge but wants to avail of the benefits that are derived from accepting the plea bargain; the courts must accept the plea (Weigl, 2007). In the case of People vs. Cohen (Cohen v. California, 403 U. S. 15 (1971), it falls within the legal ambit of the prosecutor to withhold any issuance of a plea to the defendant (Find Law, 2008). In an Alford case, the term applies to any defendant that files a plea of guilty while not admitting actual commission of the crime that the person is charged with (E Notes, 2008).

In this context, the prosecution can deny acceptance of an Alford plea as a means to convict the defendant, in this case the father, if it will lessen the gravity of the charges originally being sought justice for (Gary Muldoon, 2008). However, the prosecution must accept the plea if the defendant does not have the right to deny acceptance of the plea if the defendant puts the entire indictment of the case in the plea arrangement (Muldoon, 2008).

For the above mentioned case, since accepting the plea of defense counsel would merit a downgrading the complaint from rape to simple assault, then the prosecution can deny acceptance of the plea. As investigators do believe that the girl was indeed sexually assaulted, then the proper venue is the open court, since the defense counsels themselves believe the case for the defense of the father is very weak. Also, as the prosecutor in the case, it would be good to call the mother back and tell her that the prosecution of the father will push through. Then justice can truly be served the victim, the daughter, in the case.

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