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NCJ Number: 121215 Find in a Library
Title: Package Plea Bargaining and the Prosecutor's Duty of Good Faith
Journal: Criminal Law Bulletin  Volume:25  Issue:6  Dated:(November-December 1989)  Pages:507-549
Author(s): B A Green
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 43
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The ethics of package or containment plea bargaining, used in criminal cases with multiple defendants, is examined in detail.
Abstract: While State and lower Federal courts have approved package or containment plea agreements granting one defendant more lenient treatment if a second defendant pleads guilty, the Supreme Court has not yet addressed the propriety of such agreements. The article examines the constitutional challenges to package plea bargaining, including the possibility of coercion when multiple defendants are related to one another. In proposing contingent plea offers to related and unrelated co-defendants, prosecutors must exercise good faith, for there are dangers that one defendant may pressure another to plead guilty. Judges presiding over package plea bargaining have an obligation to define appropriate standard practice among prosecutors purporting to offer containment plea bargains, and they should conduct hearings to examine the attorneys' reasons for offering package plea bargains. For their part, prosecutors should take a restrictive approach to proposing package plea offers and should use them only to conserve prosecutorial resources when the trial of the jointly-charged multiple defendants would not be much longer than the trial of any single defendant. (Author abstract modified.) 146 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Plea negotiations
Index Term(s): Coercive persuasion of offenders; Defendants; Groups; Prosecutorial discretion
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