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Avoid Overly Harsh Sentences With The Use Of A Sentence Agreement

When it comes to the criminal justice system, many different types of agreements can be made between a defense attorney and the prosecution. One such agreement is called a Cobbs agreement. Named after the case that first established its legality, a Cobbs agreement is a sentence agreement where the Judge, the Prosecutor, and Criminal Defense Attorney meet and negotiate a possible plea agreement. This article will discuss what Cobbs agreements are, how they work, and some of the benefits they offer defendants.

How do I avoid a Harsh Sentence on Felony or Misdemeanor charges?

No one wins all the trials. Sometimes defendants acknowledge their mistakes and lack of judgment, even though they want to avoid prison. In some cases, it takes many different tools and techniques for negotiating sentences for no jail and no sentence reduction in court.

One way to avoid a harsh sentence is to enter into a sentence agreement with the Judge and Prosecutor and your criminal defense lawyer. These types of sentence agreements are called Cobbs agreements. These types of sentence agreements were created by a decision of the Michigan Supreme Court.

What is a Plea Bargain?

A guilty or “no contest” plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant and a prosecutor in which the Defendant agrees to plead guilty or “no contest” in exchange for the prosecutor’s promise to drop one or more charges, reduce a charge to a less serious offense, or recommend to the Judge a specific sentence that would be acceptable to the defense.

Criminal Defense Attorneys often negotiate plea bargains that are beneficial to their clients. A plea deal usually involves a sentencing agreement in which a sentence for a criminal offense is negotiated before a plea is entered.

what is a cobbs agreement

What is the Michigan Supreme Court Case of People v Cobbs?

The People v Cobbs, 443 Mich 276 (1993), allows a Michigan court to negotiate the sentence it will impose if the Defendant pleads guilty or no contest based on a Cobbs agreement. As a Supreme Court decision, it is binding on all the lower Courts in Michigan.

A person accused of criminal experienced criminal defense lawyers frequently uses the Cobbs evaluation to get the best results for their clients.

Is a Cobbs Agreement Always Available?

Not every trial judge will accept a Cobbs evaluation, so you should discuss whether one is an option in your case with your lawyer. If one is accessible, a Cobbs sentencing bargain might be an excellent way to anticipate what will happen after you admit guilt.

It is entirely optional for a judge to perform Cobbs evaluations. There are many reasons a Judge will not offer a Cobbs evaluation. The Judge may feel that the Defendant does not deserve a break, the crime is too severe, or there are other factors involved in the case.

What is a Cobbs Agreement in a Criminal Case?

In a Cobbs agreement, the Judge will tell you what they believe to be an appropriate sentence or sentence range at sentencing before the plea is accepted. This preview of the Judge’s sentence is supposed to be based on your case and criminal record if any.

Example of a Cobb’s Plea

An excellent example of the Cobbs plea in action would involve a meeting in the Judge’s chambers with your defense attorney, the prosecutor, and the Judge. The parties agree to a particular sentence to a definite jail term of months incarceration.

The parties will generally start with reviewing the applicable sentencing guidelines, the nature of the offense, and each party’s expectations. The Judge’s preliminary evaluation of the case is then shared.

At this point, the parties will reach an agreement. This is the Cobbs agreement. The Judge will then place this agreement on the record. The Defendant then will either accept or reject Cobb’s plea.

Now the probation department will make a recommendation as to the sentence for the criminal offense. This recommendation will be in the presentence investigation report or PSI report.

At sentencing, if the Judge does not follow the terms of cobb’s agreement, Defendant may withdraw the plea.

This is an example of the application of Michigan Supreme Court People v Cobbs. As you can see, the Cobbs sentencing agreement is a handy tool for a criminal defense attorney.

You Plead Guilty Under a Cobbs Agreement. Now What?

A Judge is not bound to follow a sentence agreement reached between the defense and prosecution. Within the Judge’s sentencing discretion, accepting or rejecting a sentence agreement is within the Judge’s sole discretion.

If the trial judge decides not to abide by the terms of a Cobbs Agreement, Defendant usually would have the option of withdrawing their plea.

killebrew agreement

How does a Cobbs agreement differ from a Killebrew agreement?

A Killebrew agreement is a sentence agreement in which the trial judge is not involved in the plea bargaining procedure. The name is derived from the Michigan Supreme Court case People v Killebrew, 416 Mich 189 (1992).

A “Killebrew strategy” is a type of conditional guilty plea in which the Defendant has the option to withdraw it if the court’s ultimate sentence falls outside of the terms negotiated by the prosecutor and defense.

In general, judges are not bound by a plea bargain reached between the parties. However, if a Killebrew agreement is signed, the Judge is advised before the plea of the sentencing terms agreed upon by both parties, and the Defendant has the option to do so.

Unlike a Cobbs Agreement, the Judge is not a party to a Killebrew Agreement

A defendant who pleads guilty expecting a particular sentence. The Judge is not a party to a Killebrew plea deal, and they may impose any lawful sentence at a later date. If Defendant does not receive the anticipated penalty, they can withdraw their plea.

A Killebrew agreement is a valuable tool in plea negotiations. It is essential to get an expected sentence and not be surprised.

Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney Today!

A Criminal Defense lawyer can help you understand a Cobbs Agreement and whether or not it is the best option for you.

If you consider entering into a Cobbs Agreement with the prosecution, your defense lawyer will work to negotiate the most favorable sentence possible for you.

A Cobbs Agreement can be an advantageous way to plead guilty without jeopardizing your future. Bruce Law Firm offers a free consultation on the phone or in-office to discuss your case. Talk to a defense attorney today.