Coercive Plea Bargaining: The Unrecognized Scourge of the Justice System

35 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2013

See all articles by Harry M. Caldwell

Harry M. Caldwell

Pepperdine University - School of Law

Date Written: 2011


Part I of this Article briefly sets forth the ethical and professional duties of prosecutors. Part II examines the game-theory concepts at play in plea-and sentence-bargaining negotiations. For perspective, Part III explores the evolution of plea bargaining from common law and elucidates the problem of coercive plea bargaining. Part VI analyzes how other scholars' approaches fail to address the problem adequately and hence have not been implemented. Finally, in Part V, the Article concludes by offering a viable approach for limiting prosecutorial abuse in the charging process -- an approach that governments, both state and federal, can implement without disrupting the justice system and without significant costs.

Keywords: prosecutors, game-theory, plea bargaining, coercive plea bargaining

Suggested Citation

Caldwell, Harry M., Coercive Plea Bargaining: The Unrecognized Scourge of the Justice System (2011). Catholic University Law Review, Vol. 61, No. 829, 2011; Pepperdine University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013/06. Available at SSRN:

Harry M. Caldwell (Contact Author)

Pepperdine University - School of Law ( email )

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States

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