Perceptions of Coercion in Plea Bargaining

22 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2015 Last revised: 17 Oct 2015

See all articles by Krin Irvine

Krin Irvine

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, Students

Brandon Kenney

University of Pennsylvania Law School; London School of Economics

Date Written: July 10, 2015

Abstract

This paper contains five new psychological studies analyzing lay perceptions of what constitutes coercion in the plea bargaining process. We investigate what an average citizen without particular legal or moral training thinks is appropriate, in contrast to plea bargaining laws and practices as they currently exist. We find that there is a base perception of coercion by prosecutors negotiating plea bargains. We also find specific factors in the prosecutor's behavior and the defendant's situation that make the plea bargaining process seem more coercive.

Keywords: criminal justice, law and psychology, behavioral economics, empirical legal studies, plea bargaining, coercion, perception, legitimacy

JEL Classification: D81, K14, K49

Suggested Citation

Irvine, Krin and Kenney, Brandon, Perceptions of Coercion in Plea Bargaining (July 10, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2629211 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2629211

Krin Irvine (Contact Author)

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, Students ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

Brandon Kenney

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

Philadelphia, PA
United States

London School of Economics ( email )

London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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