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May 4, 2005

Intriguing (high-profile) example of jury sentencing

There are many stories which surround the prosecution and guilty plea of Lynndie England, the Army reservist involved in abusing naked Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.  But my interest is captured by military's use of true jury sentencing (see background here and here on military trial procedures).

The New York Times has this account of the on-going sentencing trial of England, and TalkLeft comments here on the mitigating evidence being presented.  I find particularly intriguing the reports that England's plea deal capped the sentence she could receive, as she will apparently receive the lesser of the military jury's sentence or the term specified in the plea bargain. 

I wonder if counsel in civilian cases ever consider this "lesser sentence" sort of plea agreement.  I am not even sure such a deal could be engineered, or would be accepted, in a jurisdiction that relies on judicial sentencing.

May 4, 2005 at 12:46 AM | Permalink


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This regime exists in a few jurisdiction. E.g. Alaska.

Posted by: S.cotus | May 4, 2005 10:48:59 AM

You may find the civilian primer to courts-martial handy:


Posted by: Butkus Bosworth | May 4, 2005 12:56:19 PM

all plea agreements in courts-martial work that way, capping the sentence and providing the possibility that the military judge (or members) will give a lesser sentence that will apply in the alternative. The remaining portion of the sentence, if any (over what the judge/members impose)is suspended. Even with a guilty plea, moreover, the right to appeal is not waived and the record will be reviewed for possible appeal.

Posted by: SML | May 4, 2005 2:08:53 PM

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