A Collaborative Approach to Plea Offers

Successfully managing the relationship between prosecutors and law enforcement agencies requires trust and an understanding of the sometimes conflicting missions of each group. While police agencies are tasked with determining whether probable cause exists to make an arrest, prosecutors can prevail on a case only when the evidence proves a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This difference in burdens often causes conflicts between police and prosecutors. This article is intended to present one successful approach to building trust and cooperation between police and prosecutors that has been implemented by the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, North Carolina. The success of this approach is summarized by Major Johnny Jennings of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department: “The synergy created by the roundtable process between the police and the District Attorney’s Office is unprecedented in my 21 years of law enforcement. It speaks truly to the fact that we are a team with a common interest in mind, which is to bring criminals to justice and provide closure to the victims and their families.”