How does that work? Is there a certain setting where extortion is legal? Do certain government officials have immunity? Is extortion permissible inide a court room? Can a police officer on the street say "hey man if you plead guilty to this speeding ticket I'll ignore the pot I smell in the back of your car"?

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    If you accept the Libertarian tenet that the government has a monopoly on violence, then: the government has a monopoly on violence.
    – user662852
    May 5, 2016 at 12:35
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    Illegal extortion according to whom? The ones passing, enforcing, and interpreting the "Law (TM)"? That might be your answer right there.
    – Patrick87
    May 5, 2016 at 12:53

2 Answers 2


You don't make plea bargains with police officers.

This answer discusses the ethics of plea bargains.

Even if you made this deal with the police officer, you could renege on it at trial, and the police officer would have lost his or her opportunity to search the trunk.

Extortion is generally defined as (this example from California):

this obtaining of property from another, with his consent, or the obtaining of an official act of a public officer, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right

A plea bargain doesn't result in the obtaining of property. The plea bargain exchanges your statement of guilt of crime A for the prosecutions's dropping of charges for crime B.

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    To clarify, plea bargaining does not constitute extortion and prosecutors have absolute immunity from criminal or civil liability for their official acts in prosecuting cases.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 11, 2018 at 11:36
  • @ohwilleke: " immunity from criminal or civil liability for their official acts in prosecuting cases": Does it extend that far? I thought it was limited to the exercise of decisions of charging or not charging an individual, and what charges were brought.
    – sharur
    Jan 3, 2022 at 17:51
  • @sharur The only exceptions are for "investigative activities" of prosecutors or when they conduct non-prosecutorial law enforcement duties (e.g. personally arresting people).
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 3, 2022 at 18:01

Plea deals may or may not be illegal if the deal offered is not directly tied to the accused crime. For example: DUI/DWI arrest is the charge but reckless driving is the deal. This plea is legal in that the act was or could be true in either case. If the charge is DUI/DWI and the deal is speeding but you were not speeding the deal is illegal as it incites a false statement. Such deals are often laced with a threat of stiffer penalty if not complied with. This form of plea deal could be considered illegal in that the required statement requires lies in a court of law.

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    You are incorrect. The charge pleaded to is not required to have a factual basis in a civilian criminal court (military courts-martial are different), even though they usually do. For example, you can plea guilty to a defective headlight charge when charged with speeding, even if everyone agrees that your headlight was not actually defective. A plea is not a sworn statement of fact.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 11, 2018 at 11:34
  • Evidence to support the idea that factually false charges are a legitimate alternative, and that pleading guilty to charges known to be factually false is not making a false statement to the court?
    – user4657
    Jan 11, 2018 at 13:04
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    @Nij Among other things, it is routinely done with the full knowledge of all involved. And, there is such a thing as a plea made without acknowledging that it has a factual basis or that one is guilty, often called an Alford plea (not quite the same but closely analogous). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alford_plea
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 11, 2018 at 13:19
  • There is no such thing as a civilian criminal court. There are only Administrative and Criminal courts. Anything else is a farce on it's face.
    – ADT
    Jan 13, 2018 at 23:25
  • All courts are required to be based on fact so any statements made in court must be factual and true. A plea deal is admitting to a crime that is not truth or a lie and statements accepting a plea deal in court are lies before the court, even if the court allows such a deal. When a court allows lies the court becomes corrupt. What's worse still is plea deals are made and accepted under pains and penalties which places the person making a false statement in court under duress. Being under duress makes any plea deal statements inadmissible and may be grounds for mistrial.
    – ADT
    Jan 13, 2018 at 23:49

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