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Criminal Procedure

2012

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Bargained Justice: Plea Bargaining's Innocence Problem And The Brady Safety-Valve, Lucian Dervan Dec 2011

Bargained Justice: Plea Bargaining's Innocence Problem And The Brady Safety-Valve, Lucian Dervan

Lucian E Dervan

If any number of attorneys were asked in 2004 whether Lea Fastow’s plea bargain in the Enron case was constitutional, the majority would respond with a simple word – Brady. Yet while the 1970 Supreme Court decision Brady v. United States authorized plea bargaining as a form of American justice, the case also contained a vital caveat that has been largely overlooked by scholars, practitioners, and courts for almost forty years. Brady contains a safety-valve that caps the amount of pressure that may be asserted against defendants by prohibiting prosecutors from offering incentives in return for guilty pleas that are ...