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Criminal Procedure

Law Faculty Scholarship

Legal Writing and Research

2012

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Bargained Justice: Plea Bargaining's Innocence Problem And The Brady Safety-Valve, Lucian E. Dervan Jan 2012

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

Law Faculty Scholarship

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 ...