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April 18, 2017

"Cops and Pleas: Police Officers' Influence on Plea Bargaining"

The title of this post is the title of this intriguing new essay authored by Jonathan Abel appearing in the April issue of the Yale Law Journal. Here is its abstract:

Police officers play an important, though little-understood, role in plea bargaining.  This Essay examines the many ways in which prosecutors and police officers consult, collaborate, and clash with each other over plea bargaining.  Using original interviews with criminal justice officials from around the country, this Essay explores the mechanisms of police involvement in plea negotiations and the implications of this involvement for both plea bargaining and policing.  Ultimately, police influence in the arena of plea bargaining — long thought the exclusive domain of prosecutors — calls into question basic assumptions about who controls the prosecution team.

April 18, 2017 at 05:33 PM | Permalink


Exceptionally interesting. What caught my eye was the assertion that police are more violent because absent any influence on plea bargaining they have less of a stake in the outcome of the cases they investigate. They are more interested in "street justice" than "court justice". The question the article does not address is why? It is not intuitively obvious why police would prefer a more aggressive approach rather than lassitude in such situations.

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 18, 2017 11:44:55 PM

Daniel. Watch the Dirty Harry series. You will understand clearly. The criminals are protected by judges and by rules. There is no justice, but street justice. Everyone knew that and knows that. The rebellion of the public against the legal system resulted in the mandatory sentencing guidelines. The lawyer profession tried to save itself from the wrath of a seething, crime weary public. I go beyond the public understanding of coddling criminals. I argue the coddling of criminals is a criminal enterprise itself, for the sake of enrichment by rent seeking. The lawyer profession has no empathy and shows no pity toward the millions of crime victims. These generate no income for the lawyer. Only the criminal does, so he must be protected, privileged, and empowered.

We do not need a Yale Law review article. Watch TV shows. The cop says, "Tell me what I want to know, and I will see that the DA goes easy on you." Any DA refusing to grant the officer this favor, to make his job easier, deserves to be pistol whipped.

Posted by: David Behar | Apr 19, 2017 1:33:38 AM

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