Plea Bargaining

Academy For Justice, A Report on Scholarship and Criminal Justice Reform, Erik Luna ed., 2017, Forthcoming

SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 348

20 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2017 Last revised: 6 Apr 2017

See all articles by Jenia Iontcheva Turner

Jenia Iontcheva Turner

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: March 9, 2017

Abstract

This report on plea bargaining was written for the "Academy for Justice," a collaborative research project whose goal is "to inspire and guide reform in the federal and state systems, and to fortify these efforts with the research and analysis of top academic experts."

Plea bargaining dominates the criminal process in the United States today, yet it remains highly controversial. Supporters defend it on the grounds that it expedites cases, reduces processing costs, and helps authorities obtain cooperation from defendants. But critics contend that it can generate arbitrary sentencing disparities, obscure the true facts, and even lead innocent defendants to plead guilty. Lack of transparency and limited judicial involvement frustrate attempts to correct flaws in the process. As policymakers and legislators prepare to tackle reform of sentencing laws and prosecutorial discretion, they should also consider reforms to plea bargaining that would make the practice fairer, more transparent, and more honest.

Keywords: plea bargaining, guilty pleas, plea negotiations, criminal justice reform

JEL Classification: K14, K19, K42, K49

Suggested Citation

Turner, Jenia Iontcheva, Plea Bargaining (March 9, 2017). Academy For Justice, A Report on Scholarship and Criminal Justice Reform, Erik Luna ed., 2017, Forthcoming; SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 348. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2930521

Jenia Iontcheva Turner (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

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