Innocent Defendants Pleading Guilty

4 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2015 Last revised: 11 Dec 2015

Peter A. Joy

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Kevin C. McMunigal

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Date Written: April 5, 2015

Abstract

United States District Judge Jed Rakoff recently wrote an interesting and timely article in the New York Review of Books highlighting the risk of innocent defendants pleading guilty and offering a proposal aimed at reducing this risk. (Jed S. Rakoff, Why Innocent People Plead Guilty, N.Y. REV. BOOKS, NOV. 20, 2014). Judge Rakoff recommends changing the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to allow federal magistrate judges to participate in plea negotiations early in criminal cases just as they now participate in settlement negotiations in civil cases. In this column we examine the reasons why we share Judge Rakoff’s concern and offer an assessment of his proposal.

Keywords: legal ethics, innocent, guilty, plea bargaining, prosecutorial poweer

JEL Classification: K14, K19, K41, K42

Suggested Citation

Joy, Peter A. and McMunigal, Kevin C., Innocent Defendants Pleading Guilty (April 5, 2015). 30 Crim. Just. 45 (Spring 2015); Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-11-02; Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2686810

Peter A. Joy (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
313-935-6445 (Phone)

Kevin C. McMunigal

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
United States
2163683613 (Phone)
2163682086 (Fax)

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