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What's charge-stacking? How NC prosecutors get leverage to push plea bargain deals

Federal Courthouse in Charlotte
Michael Falero
/
WFAE
Federal Courthouse in Charlotte

Despite what you might have seen in courtroom dramas, most criminal cases don't end up in front of a jury. Nearly all charges are resolved through plea bargains, with defendants agreeing to admit guilt in exchange for lighter sentences than they might get if convicted at trial.

But a practice called "charge-stacking" gives prosecutors a great deal more leverage in extracting these deals from defendants — and criminal justice reform advocates say it's time for a change. Jacob Biba has been investigating charge stacking for Carolina Public Press, and joined WFAE's 'All Things Considered' to talk about his findings. 

Listen to the conversation below.

How prosecutors use 'charge-stacking'
People who turn down a plea deal for one charge could soon find themselves facing a host of additional charges, with harsher penalties. Jacob Biba of Carolina Public Press joined WFAE's Nick de la Canal to talk about his investigation into the practice.

Nick de la Canal is an on air host and reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal