skip navigation

Justinfo Subscribe to Stay Informed

Add your conference to our Justice Events calendar


NCJRS Abstract


Subscribe to Stay Informed
Want to be in the know? JUSTINFO is a biweekly e-newsletter containing information about new publications, events, training, funding opportunities, and Web-based resources available from the NCJRS Federal sponsors. Sign up to get JUSTINFO in your inbox.

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection.
To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database.

How to Obtain Documents
NCJ Number: NCJ 098903     Find in a Library
Title: Plea Bargaining - Critical Issues and Common Practices
  Document URL: PDF 
Author(s): W F McDonald
Corporate Author: Georgetown University
Institute of Criminal Law and Procedure
United States of America
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 178
  Annotation: This analysis of critical issues in plea bargaining is based on 1976 data obtained from Delaware County, Pa.; Norfolk, Va.; Tucson, Ariz.; Seattle, Wash.; New Orleans, La.; and El Paso County, Tex.
Abstract: Data were obtained from structured observations of 711 in-court acceptances of guilty pleas; structured interviews with over 200 judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, defendants, and police officers; a plea bargaining decision simulation and quasi-experiment administered to 138 prosecutors and 105 defense attorneys; and a statistical analysis of case file data from 3,397 robbery and burglary cases. The study concludes that the reforms of the guilty plea acceptance procedures of the last decade and a half have made plea decisions more intelligent and ensured defendants the deals they were promised. Still, the researchers found that expanded plea bargaining procedures, including judicial review to ensure the fairness of the plea bargaining process, have left the coercive (induced) character of plea bargaining intact. Virtually all defendants are reported to plead guilty to obtain the offered inducements. Regarding judicial review of plea negotiations, the report indicates that judges do not examine the strength of the State's case, and defendants respond to the judge's inquiries according to the instructions of their attorneys so as to benefit from the prosecutor's promised bargain. Findings indicate that plea bargains submitted to judicial inquiries are rarely rejected. Appendixes contain a list of 1976 cases eligible for diversion in Delaware County and the texts of criminal procedures for the six jurisdictions. Approximately 130 references are listed.
Index Term(s): Plea negotiations ; Systems analysis ; Coercive persuasion of offenders ; Structured plea negotiations ; Louisiana ; Pennsylvania ; Texas ; Virginia ; Washington ; Arizona
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America

US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
United States of America
Contract Number: 1-0260-J-OJARS
Sale Source: Superintendent of Documents, GPO
Washington, DC 20402
United States of America

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Country: United States of America
Language: English
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:

* A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's web site is provided.