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American Prosecutors’ Powers and Obligations In the Era of Plea Bargaining

TRANSNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON PROSECUTORIAL POWER, Erik Luna, ed., Forthcoming

Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2010-39

22 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2010 Last revised: 9 Feb 2011

Darryl K. Brown

University of Virginia School of Law

Abstract

This paper, written as a chapter for a forthcoming volume on international comparisons of prosecutors’ roles in various jurisdictions, provides a basic overview of the different rules and practical constraints on American prosecutors. It offers a critical view of how state and federal prosecutors differ in the exercise of their discretion and ability to influence adjudication outcomes according to variations in such factors as sentencing rules, control over investigations, resource constraints and the pervasiveness of plea bargaining. It describes, for instance, the effect of generally stronger evidence gathering in federal prosecutions and the ability of charging discretion to compensate for weak government evidence in achieving convictions through pleas.

Suggested Citation

Brown, Darryl K., American Prosecutors’ Powers and Obligations In the Era of Plea Bargaining. TRANSNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON PROSECUTORIAL POWER, Erik Luna, ed., Forthcoming; Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2010-39. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1696079

Darryl Brown (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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