Rewarding Cooperation: The Moral Complexities of Procuring Accomplice Testimony
New Criminal Law Review 13 (1), 2010: 90-118
29 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2012 Last revised: 30 Sep 2013
Date Written: 2010
Cooperation rewards are reductions in charges or sentences given to criminal defendants in exchange for their willingness to provide testimony or other evidence against their former accomplices. Such rewards are scrutinized on the grounds that they encourage vice by rewarding betrayal, promote absolute and comparative injustices in sentencing, and yield unreliable evidence. Though the objections do not demonstrate that such rewards should be altogether abandoned, they do suggest that such rewards should be kept modest in most cases. In the course of analyzing cooperation rewards, attention is paid to the contemporary context in which too much conduct is prohibited, punished excessively, or policed inequitably.
Keywords: accomplice testimony, plea bargaining, substantial assistance, loyalty, comparative justice
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