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Cobb’s Agreement in Michigan

What is a Cobb’s Plea?

A Cobb’s Plea is a legal mechanism that allows a person to plead guilty to a criminal offense with some certainty as to what their sentence from the judge will be.

In any criminal case, a judge has a great deal of latitude to sentence someone. The judge gets to pick if a person gets probation, jail or prison, and for how long. There is also a wide range of programs, community service, and therapy a judge can order someone to participate in. How often someone tests for drugs or alcohol is up the the judge and much more. 

When a person enters into a Cobb’s agreement the judge may be very specific and tell them a definite jail term, or the judge may be more vague. For example,  Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Warren will usually give a Cobbs agreement to sentence the person to the lower third of the possible jail term.

If the defendant likes the Cobb’s agreement he can plead guilty and come back for sentencing. If the defendant does not like the offer the judge makes then the person can reject the offer and proceed to trial.

Why ask for a Cobbs plea?

Aside from the reasons mentioned above, there are some cases where you cannot get a plea deal, or you have a prosecutor or victim our for blood. A Cobbs agreement is a way to get a deal from a reasonable judge when the prosecutor or victim are being unreasonable.

What if the Judge Doesn’t Follow the Cobb’s Agreement at Sentencing?

If the judge entered into a Cobb’s agreement with the Defendant and then later reneges on that agreement the Defendant is legally entitled to withdraw their plea and proceed to trial. This way the Defendant does not get tricked into pleading guilty.

Why is it called a Cobb’s Agreement?

A Cobb’s agreement is based on the Michigan Supreme Court People v Cobbs, 443 Mich 276 (1993). The case involved kidnapping and the defendant entered into a sentencing agreement with the judge. The prosecutor objected and the case went up on appeal. The Michigan Supreme Court found that the judge had acted fairly.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense contact criminal defense lawyer Aaron J. Boria. We know the courts, we know the prosecutors, and we know the system. We defend our clients zealously and guide them through a difficult time. Call today for a free consultation.

For a list of some of the Michigan criminal offenses we defend click here for the main page.