Earlier today, one of the two men charged with the murder of local hairdresser Jacquelyn Porreca rejected a plea deal that was made by the District Attorney’s office.

In a criminal prosecution, it is common for the District Attorney’s office to offer to reduce the defendant’s potential punishment by offering a plea to a lesser charge or a promise of a lighter sentence. This is commonly referred to as a plea bargain. The purpose of a plea bargain is to induce the defendant to give up the right to a trial, their right to present a defense, and their right to appeal, among other rights.  Often times a plea bargain is offered to avoid the expensive and time-consuming process of conducting a trial.  In many circumstances defendants accept plea bargains to avoid the risk of a more serious conviction and/or a potentially longer sentence after a trial.

In the case highlighted above, the District Attorney’s office offered a plea bargain to second degree murder, with a maximum prison term of 25 years to life.  If the defendant were to be convicted at trial, he could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.