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State task force to recommend ways to improve plea bargains

Posted at 9:59 PM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-05 00:59:41-04

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona's top judge says he wants a new task force to see if there are ways to improve the transparency, fairness and consistency of plea bargains between criminal defendants and prosecutors.

Plea bargains account for 90% of the convictions and penalties imposed by the state court system.

An order signed Wednesday by Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel creates a 19-member task force on plea bargains, sentencing and dispositions.

Brutinel acknowledges that plea bargains are negotiated primarily by prosecutors and defense attorneys.

But he says judges have an oversight role to ensure that the agreements are voluntary, complete and accurately recorded.