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Plea bargain i Tyskland och Italien - En granskning utifrån grundläggande principer inom svensk straffprocessrätt

Tucker, Johanna LU (2012) JURM02 20121
Department of Law
Abstract
Plea bargaining can briefly be described as the possibility for the defendant to confess to one of several charges or to a less serious charge, in return for the prosecution dismissing other charges. This is commonly referred to as charge bargaining unlike sentence bargaining where, in exchange for the defendant confessing, the prosecution agrees to a lenient sentence and requests that it be imposed by the court.

Plea bargaining as a part of criminal procedure is alien to Swedish law, as the prosecutor in accordance with the rule of mandatory prosecution is obliged to enter into legal proceedings as soon as the documentary evidence is such that he or she can expect a conviction. The exceptions related to the rule of mandatory... (More)
Plea bargaining can briefly be described as the possibility for the defendant to confess to one of several charges or to a less serious charge, in return for the prosecution dismissing other charges. This is commonly referred to as charge bargaining unlike sentence bargaining where, in exchange for the defendant confessing, the prosecution agrees to a lenient sentence and requests that it be imposed by the court.

Plea bargaining as a part of criminal procedure is alien to Swedish law, as the prosecutor in accordance with the rule of mandatory prosecution is obliged to enter into legal proceedings as soon as the documentary evidence is such that he or she can expect a conviction. The exceptions related to the rule of mandatory prosecution have not been regarded such as to allow for this type of pre-trial settlements. In practice, it seems as if a suspect’s cooperation in the criminal investigations against him or her, in certain cases has been considered within the grounds for mitigation of a sentence, which are to be found in chapter 29 § 5 BrB. The cooperation of the accused has first been taken into account by the court whilst determining the sentence, which is why the proceeding shall not be confused with sentence bargaining. The Swedish law provides no possibility for the prosecutor or the court to negotiate with the suspect about a mitigation of the sentence. If the national law does not contain regulations that allow for a confession or the will to cooperate to be rewarded in criminal respect, then, in accordance with the European Convention the investigating authorities cannot make such an offer. According to the European Convention the suspect also has the right to remain silent during the whole investigation and shall therefore not be forced to contribute to the investigation of his or her own crime.

Today both Germany and Italy have their own forms of plea bargaining. In both countries the development of a possibility to reach agreements in the criminal process has been regarded as necessary to be able to cope with the increasing number of cases and cases being more complex and internationalised. The agreements reached through the German form of plea bargaining, Verständigungen, vary both when it comes to form and contents. However, it is common that the defendant offers to confess at trial and that the court in exchange indicates an upper and a lower sentence limit which it is committed to abide to, when determining the sentence. An alternative is also that the prosecutor agrees that a number of charges will be dismissed in exchange for a confession to other crimes. In Verständigungen the court plays an active part in the negotiations and thus the court and the defence are the real negotiating parties. Italian plea bargaining, or patteggiamento, gives the prosecution and the defence the possibility to negotiate and reach an agreement concerning an appropriate sentence, which they then request to be imposed by the judge. Through such an agreement the ”regular” sentence can be reduced by up to one third. For patteggiamento to be applicable, basically no admission of guilt is required from the defendant. If the court comes to the conclusion that the defendant is guilty and considers the deal to be legitimate, the court becomes tied to the sentence that the parties earlier agreed to.

Neither patteggiamento nor Verständigungen seems to be fully compatible with the fundamental principles applying to Swedish criminal procedure and therefore is unlikely to be incorporated in Swedish criminal proceedings in a satisfying way. However, both the Italian and the German versions of plea bargaining illustrate problematic areas and also show innovative and interesting solutions to some of the procedure-principle problems which the legislature earlier has expressed concerning plea bargaining. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Plea bargaining kan beskrivas som att åklagaren, i utbyte mot att den misstänkte erkänner en eller flera gärningar, kan besluta att inte väcka åtal för vissa andra gärningar eller att väcka åtal för ett lindrigare brott. Detta brukar betecknas som åtalsförhandlingar, till skillnad från påföljdsförhandlingar, där åklagaren i utbyte mot att den misstänkte erkänner, går med på en viss straffnivå som denne även yrkar att domstolen fastställer.

Plea bargaining som processuellt förfarande utgör ett för svensk rätt främmande institut, då åklagaren i enlighet med den i princip absoluta åtalsplikten är skyldig att väcka åtal så snart bevismaterialet är sådant att han eller hon kan emotse en fällande dom. De undantag som är anslutna till... (More)
Plea bargaining kan beskrivas som att åklagaren, i utbyte mot att den misstänkte erkänner en eller flera gärningar, kan besluta att inte väcka åtal för vissa andra gärningar eller att väcka åtal för ett lindrigare brott. Detta brukar betecknas som åtalsförhandlingar, till skillnad från påföljdsförhandlingar, där åklagaren i utbyte mot att den misstänkte erkänner, går med på en viss straffnivå som denne även yrkar att domstolen fastställer.

Plea bargaining som processuellt förfarande utgör ett för svensk rätt främmande institut, då åklagaren i enlighet med den i princip absoluta åtalsplikten är skyldig att väcka åtal så snart bevismaterialet är sådant att han eller hon kan emotse en fällande dom. De undantag som är anslutna till åtalsplikten har inte ansetts lämna utrymme för denna typ av straffprocessuella uppgörelser. I praxis förefaller medverkan till den egna brottsutredningen i vissa fall ha beaktats inom ramen för de strafflindringsgrunder som återfinns i 29 kap. 5 § BrB. Den tilltalades utredningsmedverkan har då beaktats först i domstolens påföljdsbestämning, varför förfarandet inte ska sammanblandas med plea bargaining i form av påföljdsförhandlingar. Någon möjlighet för åklagaren eller domstolen att förhandla med den tilltalade om en straffreduktion existerar inte i svensk rätt. Om den nationella lagen inte innehåller bestämmelser som tillskriver att ett erkännande och samarbetsvilja premieras i straffrättsligt hänseende, kan de brottsutredande myndigheterna i enlighet med Europakonventionen inte utfästa någonting. I enlighet med Europakonventionen har den misstänkte även rätt att vara tyst under hela utredningen och ska således ej tvingas bidra till utredningen av det egna brottet.

Både Tyskland och Italien har idag egna varianter av plea bargaining. I respektive land har utvecklingen av en möjlighet till uppgörelser i straffprocessen ansetts nödvändig för att hantera ett växande målflöde och alltmer komplexa och internationaliserade mål. De uppgörelser som sluts genom den tyska plea bargain-varianten, Verständigungen, varierar både till form och till innehåll. Vanligt är dock att den tilltalade erbjuder sig att erkänna en viss brottslighet och att domstolen i utbyte mot detta meddelar ett påföljdsutrymme som den förbinder att hålla sig inom vid påföljdsbestämningen. Ett alternativ är också att åklagaren går med på att lägga ner vissa åtalspunkter i utbyte mot ett erkännande av annan brottslighet. I Verständigungen har domstolen en aktiv roll i förhandlingarna och således utgör domstolen och försvaret de verkliga förhandlingsparterna. Den italienska plea bargain-varianten, patteggiamento, ger åklagaren och försvaret möjlighet att förhandla och komma överens om en lämplig påföljd, som de sedan hemställer att domstolen dömer ut. Genom en sådan uppgörelse kan den ”normala” påföljden reduceras med upp till en tredjedel. För att patteggiamento ska få tillämpas krävs i princip inget erkännande från den tilltalade. Om domstolen kommer fram till att den tilltalade är skyldig och anser uppgörelsen vara legitim, blir domstolen bunden av den påföljd parterna enats om.

Varken patteggiamento eller Verständigungen förefaller i sin helhet vara förenliga med de fundamentala principer som gör sig gällande i den svenska straffprocessen och torde således inte på ett tillfredsställande sätt kunna inkorporeras i det svenska brottmålsförfarandet. Båda dessa plea bargain-varianter åskådliggör dock problematiska områden och visar dessutom prov på nytänkande och intressanta lösningar på några av de straffprincipiella problem som lagstiftaren tidigare uttryckt beträffande plea bargaining. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Tucker, Johanna LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Plea bargain in Germany and Italy - A review based on fundamental principles within Swedish criminal procedure
course
JURM02 20121
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Straffrätt, Plea bargaining, plea bargain, uppgörelser i straffprocessen
language
Swedish
id
2858421
date added to LUP
2012-11-01 10:43:48
date last changed
2012-11-01 10:43:48
@misc{2858421,
  abstract     = {Plea bargaining can briefly be described as the possibility for the defendant to confess to one of several charges or to a less serious charge, in return for the prosecution dismissing other charges. This is commonly referred to as charge bargaining unlike sentence bargaining where, in exchange for the defendant confessing, the prosecution agrees to a lenient sentence and requests that it be imposed by the court.

Plea bargaining as a part of criminal procedure is alien to Swedish law, as the prosecutor in accordance with the rule of mandatory prosecution is obliged to enter into legal proceedings as soon as the documentary evidence is such that he or she can expect a conviction. The exceptions related to the rule of mandatory prosecution have not been regarded such as to allow for this type of pre-trial settlements. In practice, it seems as if a suspect’s cooperation in the criminal investigations against him or her, in certain cases has been considered within the grounds for mitigation of a sentence, which are to be found in chapter 29 § 5 BrB. The cooperation of the accused has first been taken into account by the court whilst determining the sentence, which is why the proceeding shall not be confused with sentence bargaining. The Swedish law provides no possibility for the prosecutor or the court to negotiate with the suspect about a mitigation of the sentence. If the national law does not contain regulations that allow for a confession or the will to cooperate to be rewarded in criminal respect, then, in accordance with the European Convention the investigating authorities cannot make such an offer. According to the European Convention the suspect also has the right to remain silent during the whole investigation and shall therefore not be forced to contribute to the investigation of his or her own crime. 

Today both Germany and Italy have their own forms of plea bargaining. In both countries the development of a possibility to reach agreements in the criminal process has been regarded as necessary to be able to cope with the increasing number of cases and cases being more complex and internationalised. The agreements reached through the German form of plea bargaining, Verständigungen, vary both when it comes to form and contents. However, it is common that the defendant offers to confess at trial and that the court in exchange indicates an upper and a lower sentence limit which it is committed to abide to, when determining the sentence. An alternative is also that the prosecutor agrees that a number of charges will be dismissed in exchange for a confession to other crimes. In Verständigungen the court plays an active part in the negotiations and thus the court and the defence are the real negotiating parties. Italian plea bargaining, or patteggiamento, gives the prosecution and the defence the possibility to negotiate and reach an agreement concerning an appropriate sentence, which they then request to be imposed by the judge. Through such an agreement the ”regular” sentence can be reduced by up to one third. For patteggiamento to be applicable, basically no admission of guilt is required from the defendant. If the court comes to the conclusion that the defendant is guilty and considers the deal to be legitimate, the court becomes tied to the sentence that the parties earlier agreed to. 

Neither patteggiamento nor Verständigungen seems to be fully compatible with the fundamental principles applying to Swedish criminal procedure and therefore is unlikely to be incorporated in Swedish criminal proceedings in a satisfying way. However, both the Italian and the German versions of plea bargaining illustrate problematic areas and also show innovative and interesting solutions to some of the procedure-principle problems which the legislature earlier has expressed concerning plea bargaining.},
  author       = {Tucker, Johanna},
  keyword      = {Straffrätt,Plea bargaining,plea bargain,uppgörelser i straffprocessen},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Plea bargain i Tyskland och Italien - En granskning utifrån grundläggande principer inom svensk straffprocessrätt},
  year         = {2012},
}