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Public Law and Legal Theory

Criminal defense

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

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Designing Plea Bargaining From The Ground Up: Accuracy And Fairness Without Trials As Backstops, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2016

Designing Plea Bargaining From The Ground Up: Accuracy And Fairness Without Trials As Backstops, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

American criminal procedure developed on the assumption that grand juries and petit jury trials were the ultimate safeguards of fair procedures and accurate outcomes. But now that plea bargaining has all but supplanted juries, we need to think through what safeguards our plea-bargaining system should be built around. This Symposium Article sketches out principles for redesigning our plea-bargaining system from the ground up around safeguards. Part I explores the causes of factual, moral, and legal inaccuracies in guilty pleas. To prevent and remedy these inaccuracies, it proposes a combination of quasi-inquisitorial safeguards, more vigorous criminal defense, and better normative evaluation ...