‘Plea Bargaining: A Comparative Analysis’
in Wright, J (ed-in-chief) International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Amsterdam: Elsevier), Forthcoming
7 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2013 Last revised: 12 Jun 2017
Date Written: December 12, 2013
Plea and sentence bargaining is characterized by several general features that we might recognize as common across a range of jurisdictions and procedural traditions. It requires an admission of guilt from the accused; the accused is offered some reward, incentive or advantage, either in exchange for, or as a result of the plea; and there is some benefit to the criminal justice system – typically the avoidance of a more lengthy and expensive contested trial. The point in the criminal process at which these negotiations are initiated, the personnel involved, and the relative incentives and benefits available will of course differ. In some instances, explicit bargains are struck between prosecutor and defense lawyer; in others, there is direct judicial involvement; and in others, the system benefit may operate as an implicit reward, without any explicit bargaining taking place.
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