Q: I went to my sentencing on August 29th n the judge refused to take my guilty plea. What happens next? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: You need to ask your attorney. He or she will know. A judge has the discretion to accept or reject a plea bargain. A judge normally rejects a plea bargain because it is too lenient (easy) on the defendant but can also reject because it is too harsh on the defendant (very seldom). My guess is the judge thought your plea deal was too lenient. Your options now are for your attorney to negotiate a different plea bargain, or, choose to go to trial and ask the judge to recuse himself and have the case transferred to another judge.
Q: I have a case involving multiple counts of different misdemeanors where I am the victim. I live in Pittsburgh, but this incident is pending in Armstrong County. We are up to the Pre-trial Conference stage. I read that this is where the lawyers start to consult and exchange evidence to determine the merit of the case? My question is does the ADA who is representing us have the ability to plea bargain the case without getting our approval to the settlement? Or should we be asked or give our approval to the whether it can be settled or moved to trial? (Monroeville, PA)
A: I can only speak to the practice of the DA in Allegheny County which is to always seek the input of the victim and the police as to any plea agreement. The DA will override any opposition from the police or victim if he or she thinks the position of the police or victim is unreasonable.