How do You Plead, and Why? How Attorney Experience and Defendant Background Affect Plea Bargaining
How Do You Plead and Why? How Attorney Experience and Defendant Background Affect Plea Bargaining, ___ OHIO ST. J. CRIM. L. ___ (2020 Forthcoming)
15 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2020
Date Written: 2020
Various studies have been conducted to determine how defendants respond to plea offers and how actual innocence colors their decision. This essay describes the results of a first-of-its-kind study designed to analyze how legal counsel’s level of experience affects willingness to accept a plea offer. Furthermore, the variables of participant race, gender, and political affiliation—which are largely ignored in plea bargain research—are analyzed to provide a more robust understanding of defendants’ decision making. Potential explanations for demographic disparities in plea bargain responses, such as level of trust in the legal system, are also evaluated.
Keywords: Plea bargain, Alford plea, Criminal justice reform, Mass incarceration, Trial penalty, Race Innocence effect, False confessions,
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