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San Francisco’s new district attorney, Brooke Jenkins, announced that her office was rescinding 30 plea offers made to defendants under her predecessor. Jenkins was installed as the district attorney after Chesa Boudin was recalled in June. DA Jenkins defended her decision to rescind the 30 plea offers by arguing that one of the defendants had several open cases involving the possession and sale of fentanyl. The press release did not go into detail about the reasons the other 29 offers were revoked.

Salim Virji (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Do prosecutors regularly take back plea offers?

Yes. It’s important to point out that, contrary to what some articles covering this press release put in their headlines, the DA didn’t withdraw any plea deals

What’s the difference between a plea deal and a plea offer?

In Pennsylvania, a plea offer is when the DA gives the defendant an offer to resolve the case without going to trial. A plea deal is when the offer has been accepted by the DA, the defendant, and the court.

Could something like this happen in Pennsylvania? 

DAs withdraw plea offers all the time in Pennsylvania. Remember: The offer isn’t binding until the court accepts it. And even after the plea deal is accepted, it can be withdrawn for good cause before sentencing.