1995Public Service


December 20, 1994

"The officers bust their butts investigating and closing a case and what happens? Some prosecutor decides to take the easy way out and plea-bargains the case." --Ohanio Harris, retired police captain

"Without plea bargaining, we would expect to spend millions of dollars a year more for juries, judges, prosecutors and court-appointed attorneys. Do you think the public is going to be willing to pay that?" --Elwood York, chief assistant to Attorney General Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine

"In a plea bargain, everyone gives up something -- but gets something in return." --Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Peters

"Unless plea bargains are curtailed, the list of criminals walking the streets will only get longer." --Ohanio Harris, retired police captain

"One of the things that concerns me the most is that I believe prosecutors are often too willing to give up the habitual offenders provision as part of the plea. This is not something that should be taken lightly." --Chief Territorial Court Judge Verne Hodge


Repeat offenders sentenced as habitual offenders must be given a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.


To have criminals sentenced as habitual offenders, prosecutors must file a petition with the court saying they wish to do so. Often, they agree not to do that as part of a deal to get the criminal to plead guilty -- to something less than the charge he faces.