Plea-Bargaining Law after Lafler and Frye

30 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2013 Last revised: 20 Aug 2013

See all articles by Russell D. Covey

Russell D. Covey

Whittier Law School; Georgia State University College of Law

Date Written: 2013


In dissenting opinions in Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye – two recent cases dealing with the application of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel to the plea bargaining process – Justice Scalia warned of the coming creation of a whole new field of constitutional criminal procedure: plea bargaining law. This symposium contribution assesses that prediction. It concludes that the Lafler and Frye cases do lay the groundwork for important, albeit incremental, expansion of constitutional protections to criminal defendants in the guilty plea process. In particular, it urges the extension of prosecutorial disclosure obligations to the guilty plea stage and increased restrictions on coercive bargaining practices by prosecutors seeking to induce defendants to plead guilty.

Keywords: plea bargaining, right to counsel, constitution, criminal law, criminal procedure, guilty, coercive bargaining, Supreme Court, constitutional criminal procedure, guilty pleas

JEL Classification: K14, K30, K39, K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Covey, Russell D. and Covey, Russell D., Plea-Bargaining Law after Lafler and Frye (2013). Duquesne University Law Review, Vol. 51, 2013, Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-17, Available at SSRN:

Russell D. Covey (Contact Author)

Georgia State University College of Law ( email )

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Whittier Law School

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United States
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