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October 6, 2007

An ADR perspective on plea bargaining

Thanks to this cool new ADR blog, Indisputably (which is co-authored by one of my colleagues), I saw this interesting post spotlighting this new paper on plea bargaining entitled "Cooperating or Caving In: Are Defense Attorneys Shrewd or Exploited in Plea Bargaining Negotiations?".  Here is the abstract (which does not quite seem like a perfect fit with the title):

Following a larger previous study on the negotiation styles of lawyers, this article examines more specifically the data relating to criminal lawyers and found that the percentage of lawyers engaged in problem-solving was higher than any other practice area.  Furthermore, when I ran breakdowns of prosecutors and defense attorneys, it turned out that 86% of defense attorneys were perceived as problem-solving.  This was almost 20% more than prosecutors and also any other practice area.

What is going on?  One could hypothesize that it is the long term relationship and small community of criminal lawyers that lead to problem-solving. It could also be the case load, the fact that the majority of defendants are already in jail when they plea bargain, the sentencing discount given in a plea versus a trial (for example, a plea might result in a 6 year sentence when a trial could result in 30 years), and also that most defendants do not have the education or financial wherewithal to push their attorneys to be more assertive on their behalf.

October 6, 2007 at 06:20 PM | Permalink


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I believe the proper term is flogging.

Posted by: M. Simon | Oct 8, 2007 2:03:08 AM

I think you were right about my (mis)usage, so I've changed the word entirely. Thanks, for the helpful wordsmithery.

Posted by: Doug B. | Oct 8, 2007 10:12:45 AM

I need statistics on what is the most a sentence can be reduced through plea bargaining. Can you show me where I can find that or answer it for me? Thanks..I am a HS student.

Posted by: Rachel | Nov 4, 2007 3:36:34 PM

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