Over 85% of the criminal cases filed with Israel's
courts end with a plea bargain, a new study said on Monday.
According to Yedioth Ahronoth, only a fraction of all criminal cases – 0.3% – end with the defendant's complete acquittal.
The study was compiled by the Supreme Court's Research Center and the Faculty of Law and Haifa University.
The study, which reviewed the Judiciary's practices in the Magistrate's and District courts nationwide, revealed that the wheels of justice have a hard time actually grinding: Some 76.5% of the cases heard by Magistrate's courts are pled out, as are 85.7% of the cases heard by the District courts.
Plea bargains are de facto convictions, and the study suggests that while the Judiciary opts to sanction plea bargains as a way of saving the taxpayers the expenses of the trial, many of the defendants use them as a way to receive a lighter sentence.
The few cases that do see the inside of a courtroom face grim odds: According to the study, the chances that the court will side with the defense are slim, as 71.5% of the cases end with a partial conviction and 21.6% with a full conviction.
In 2.1% of the cases the defendants are found to be incompetent to stand trial, in 0.9% the State drops the charges – but reserves the right to re-file, and about 1.2% are dismissed over technicalities.
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