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NCJ Number: 66451 Find in a Library
Title: CONVICTION BY CONSENT - A STUDY OF PLEA BARGAINING AND INDUCEMENTS TO PLEAD GUILTY IN ENGLAND
Journal: ANGLOAMERICAN LAW REVIEW  Volume:7  Issue:3  Dated:(1978)  Pages:271-289
Author(s): J BALDWIN; M MCCONVILLE
Corporate Author: Justice of the Peace, Ltd
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Justice of the Peace, Ltd
Sussex, England
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: USING COMPARISONS TO U.S. PRACTICES, THIS BRITISH ESSAY OUTLINES PROBLEMS WITH PLEA BARGAINING AND INDUCEMENTS OF DEFENDANTS TO PLEAD GUILTY.
Abstract: A STUDY OF THE BIRMINGHAM CROWN COURTS INCLUDED INTERVIEWS WITH 121 OF 150 DEFENDANTS WHO PLEADED GUILTY DURING A 15-MONTH PERIOD IN 1975-76. IT WAS FOUND THAT 28.9 PERCENT OF THE DEFENDANTS WERE GUILTY AS PLEADED, 18.2 PERCENT PLEADED GUILTY AS A RESULT OF A PLEA BARGAIN, 13.2 PERCENT PLEADED GUILTY BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT OR ASSUMED THAT THE BARGAIN WAS MADE ON THEIR BEHALF, AND 39.7 PERCENT PLEADED GUILTY BECAUSE OF PRESSURE FROM THEIR ATTORNEY. ALSO, OVER HALF OF THE DEFENDANTS INDUCED TO PLEAD GUILTY WERE PERSUADED BY UNETHICAL ATTORNEYS, WHICH HAD THE EFFECT OF DEPRIVING THE ACCUSED OF A FREE CHOICE OF PLEA. OF THE 121 DEFENDANTS, 33 HAD STRONG CLAIMS THAT THEY WERE INNOCENT TO ALL CHARGES BUT WERE STILL INDUCED TO PLEAD GUILTY. THE GREATEST THREAT TO DEFENDANTS' FREEDOM OF CHOICE OVER PLEA APPEARS TO BE THEIR OWN ATTORNEY. PLEADING GUILTY IS JUSTIFIED IN ENGLAND BECAUSE POLICE INTERROGATION IS LARGELY UNREGULATED, AND POLICE TESTIMONY IS RARELY CHALLENGED IN COURT BECAUSE JUDGES DO NOT REACT FAVORABLY TO ATTACKS ON POLICE. ALSO, THE REDUCTION IN SENTENCES ASSISTS COURTS BY ELIMINATING ADDITIONAL CONTESTED CASES. HOWEVER, PLEA BARGAINING PUTS INNOCENT PEOPLE AT RISK AS SENTENCES ARE DECIDED BY THE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS OF THE DEFENDING AND PROSECUTING ATTORNEYS RATHER THAN BY THE MERITS OF THE CASE. THE MOST EFFECTIVE STEP WOULD BE TO QUESTION THE PREMISE ON WHICH THE REDUCTION FOR PLEAS OF GUILTY IS BASED. (JLF)
Index Term(s): Coercive persuasion defense; Defendants; England; Plea negotiations; Pleas; Sentencing/Sanctions; United States of America
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66451

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