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NCJ Number: 66766 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: PROSECUTORIAL BLUFFING AND THE CAUSE AGAINST PLEABARGAINING (FROM PLEA-BARGAINING, 1980, BY WILLIAM F MCDONALD AND JAMES A CRAMER - SEE NCJ-66765)
Author(s): W F MCDONALD; J A CRAMER; H H ROSSMAN
Corporate Author: Lexington Books
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: Lexington Books
New York, NY 10022
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 77-NI-99-0049; 75-NI-99-0129
Dataset: DATASET 1
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: PROSECUTORIAL BLUFFING IS EXAMINED WITH REGARD TO ITS MEANING, ITS FREQUENCY, THE EXTENT TO WHICH IT IS ACCOMPANIED BY ELABORATE FRAUDS, AND THE DEGREE TO WHICH IT INVOLVES ILLEGAL OR UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR.
Abstract: IN THE FIRST PHASE OF A NATIONAL STUDY OF PLEA-BARGAINING BLUFFING WAS ONE OF MANY ISSUES DISCUSSED IN OPEN-ENDED, UNSTRUCTURED INTERVIEWS WITH PROSECUTORS IN 31 JURISDICTIONS, 20 OF WHICH REPRESENTED A 10-PERCENT RANDOM SAMPLE OF AMERICAN JURISDICTIONS WITH POPULATIONS OF 100,000 OR MORE. IN THE SECOND PHASE, BLUFFING WAS DEALT WITH IN STRUCTURED INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED IN SIX JURISDICTIONS STUDIED INDEPTH; THESE JURISDICTIONS WERE SELECTED TO REPRESENT A CONTINUUM FROM CENTRALIZED TO DECENTRALIZED CONTROL IN THE PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE. THESE INTERVIEWS ALL DEMONSTRATED THAT BLUFFING DOES NOT TYPICALLY INVOLVE VIOLATIONS OF LEGAL OR ETHICAL NORMS, ELABORATE FRAUDS TO SUSTAIN DECEPTIONS, OR CASES IN WHICH NO CHANCE EXISTED THAT THE DEFENDANT WOULD BE CONVICTED AT TRIAL. PROSECUTORS ABIDE BY THE LAW RELATING TO DISCOVERY AND THE PRODUCTION OF EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE, BUT FEEL NO OBLIGATION TO TELL DEFENSE COUNSEL ABOUT WEAKNESSES IN THEIR CASES THAT ARISE FROM LOGISTICAL OR ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEMS, SUCH AS THE ACCIDENTAL LOSS OF DRUGS OR THE FAILURE TO NOTIFY A WITNESS OF A HEARING. PROSECUTORS ARE RESTRAINED IN THEIR BLUFFING NOT ONLY BY LAW AND CODES OF ETHICS BUT ALSO BY THE UNOFFICIAL NORMS OF THE WORK PLACE; LAWYERS MUST PROTECT THEIR REPUTATIONS FOR HONESTY IN NEGOTIATIONS IF THEY ARE TO MAINTAIN SMOOTH RELATIONS WITH OTHER LAWYERS. OVERALL, THE BLUFFING SYSTEM DOES NOT WARRANT THE ABOLITION OF PLEA-BARGAINING, BUT IT DOES CALL FOR A COMPETENT AND WARY DEFENSE BAR. DEFENSE ATTORNEYS MUST CHECK THE STRENGTH OF THE PROSECUTOR'S CASE BY ASKING SIMPLE AND DIRECT QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER THE PROSECUTOR IS READY TO GO TO TRIAL. REFERENCES AND TABLES SHOWING INTERVIEW RESPONSES ARE INCLUDED. (MHP)
Index Term(s): Code of ethics; Defense counsel; Plea negotiations; Professional conduct and ethics; Professional misconduct; Prosecutorial discretion; Prosecutors
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66766

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