We have talked about plea agreements before on this blog. Under a plea agreement, an accused individual may plead guilty to a reduced charge in exchange for a less severe sentence.
A Birmingham man's trial was scheduled to begin this week. However, he will only be required to spend another 30 days behind bars after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors.
The 51-year-old man was charged with murder after his butcher shop supervisor was stabbed to death in December 2011. The man has maintained that he acted in self defense.
Recently, he pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge. Because he has been behind bars for the last 14 months, he will only remain jailed for another month. He will also be on supervised probation for three years following his release from jail.
The victims' family members made it known that they do not feel the punishment fits the crime. Prosecutors acknowledged the family's dismay but pointed out that their job is to seek justice.
"I don't ever like to have a victim or a victim's family leave court unhappy, but I must always do what I believe is right based upon the law and the evidence," the deputy Jefferson County district attorney said.
Most criminal cases are settled through plea bargains. Prosecutors may be more inclined to pursue a plea bargain depending on the seriousness of the case, the strength of the evidence and the likelihood of a guilty verdict.
The criminal justice system is complex. People in Birmingham and others elsewhere would be wise to rely on an experienced criminal defense attorney as they move forward with their case.
Source: al.com, "Birmingham man sentenced in stabbing death of his Center Point butcher shop supervisor," Kent Faulk, Feb. 25, 2013