Can a Judge Reject a Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive (RRRI) Negotiated Guilty Plea?
Generally, in Pennsylvania the District Attorney can make any deal they want to make with the defendant and the defendant’s lawyer. As a matter of law, if the Judge rejects any portion of the negotiated guilty plea or adds on any conditions to the guilty plea, the defendant has the right to withdraw plea because the plea would not be that for which the defendant bargained.
The District Attorney can waive, in any plea agreement, any state mandatory sentence or an RRRI requirements. Therefore the DA can say that you will be RRRI eligible as part of the plea negotiations when in fact your are not eligible for the RRRI program. However, the Judge, can reject the RRRI eligibility in the plea deal. Just like any other type of plea negotiations, when the Judge does not give the defendant the full benefit of the bargain, the defendant has the right to withdraw the guilty plea and fight the case.
A possible follow-up question could be: If you are deemed RRRI eligible through a plea deal and you complete all of the RRRI requirements once in state custody, will the state parole board actually parole you at your RRRI parole date? I have no idea, but my guess is that they would NOT parole you at your RRRI date, but that they would parole you much EARLIER then if you were not RRRI eligible and did not do all of the requirements. The RRRI program can only lead to an earlier parole date because the course is so heavy with work, but I do not think that the state parole board will rubber stamp RRRI early parole to all defendants. Just a guess though.