How Far Can Colorado Judge Enter into Plea Bargaining Negotiations?
By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer
A Colorado Judge cannot enter into plea negotiations between a prosecutor and a defense attorney. Judges cannot improperly pressure a defendant into a plea bargain by threatening that Defendant with a lengthy sentence if the defendant chooses to go to trial.
A Judge’s role is clear. A Judge must serve as “a neutral and impartial arbiter of justice” and never enter into or become involved in plea negotiations in a criminal case. Any Judge who does become so involved runs the risk of tainting the plea agreement and leading to a withdrawal from that agreement should the Defendant choose to exercise that right.