Forthcoming June 2021 • paper
By looking at the motivations of the three critical parties to any plea bargain—the prosecutor, defense attorney/defendant, and the judge—Plea Bargaining Made Real explains why in the words of former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, “criminal justice today is for the most part a system of pleas, not a system of trials.” By looking at the impact these motivations play in the conduct and decisions of these parties, the book offers a clearer and more realistic understanding of the process. Through comparing plea-bargaining court decisions with the actual ways in which guilty pleas come about, the book illustrates not just the dishonesty of the judicial approach to issues arising from plea bargaining, but also the damage that such dishonesty causes. The book discusses other important and controversial aspects of plea bargaining such as types of guilty pleas, the impact of systemic racism in plea bargaining and the applicability of contract law principles to plea agreements.
The negotiation of a disposition in a criminal case is a most human process. This book examines the law of plea bargaining without ever losing sight of this critical perspective. It offers suggestions for how prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and the criminal justice system itself can make the plea bargaining system fairer and more transparent.
If you are a professor teaching in this field you may request a complimentary copy.