Pleading Innocents: Laboratory Evidence of Plea Bargaining's Innocence Problem

21 Current Research in Social Psychology 14 (2013)

8 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2014

See all articles by Vanessa Edkins

Vanessa Edkins

Florida Institute of Technology

Lucian E. Dervan

Belmont University School of Law

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

We investigated plea bargaining by making students actually guilty or innocent of a cheating offense and varying the sentence that they would face if found ‘guilty’ by a review board. As hypothesized, guilty students were more likely than innocent students to accept a plea deal (i.e., admit guilt and lose credit; akin to accepting a sentence of probation) (Chi-square=8.63, p<.01) but we did not find an effect of sentence severity. Innocent students, though not as likely to plead as guilty students, showed an overall preference (56% across conditions) for accepting a plea deal. Implications and future directions are discussed.

"The Innocent Defendant’s Dilemma: An Innovative Empirical Study of Plea Bargaining’s Innocence Problem," 103 Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 1 (2013): A longer law review article discussing the findings and examining the implications of the results on the constitutionality of plea bargaining is available at this here:http://ssrn.com/abstract= 2071397.

Keywords: plea bargaining, innocence, empirical study, psychological study, criminal law, criminal procedure, constitutional law

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K14, K30, K40, K41, K42

Suggested Citation

Edkins, Vanessa and Dervan, Lucian E., Pleading Innocents: Laboratory Evidence of Plea Bargaining's Innocence Problem (2013). 21 Current Research in Social Psychology 14 (2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2459637

Vanessa Edkins

Florida Institute of Technology ( email )

150 West University Blvd.
Melbourne, FL 32901-6975
United States

Lucian E. Dervan (Contact Author)

Belmont University School of Law ( email )

1900 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.belmont.edu/law/

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