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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77501 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Plea Negotiation in Pennsylvania - An Exploratory Report
Author(s): J H Kunkle; H G Washburn
Corporate Author: Pennsylvania Cmssn on Crime and Delinquency
Division of Criminal Justice Statistics
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 134
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Pennsylvania Cmssn on Crime and Delinquency
Harrisburg, PA 17108
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Written for local prosecutors, this study focuses on the extent of plea negotiations among common pleas dispositions in Pennsylvania and across the nation.
Abstract: The study methodology involved (1) visiting local prosecutors and courthouses to gather information on current practices and philosophies and to review the number and types of negotiated pleas, and (2) presenting the findings to respective prosecutors for validation. Negotiated pleas can account for 2 to 70 percent of a county's caseload. There is a strong inverse relationship between the plea negotiation rate and the dismissal rate; prosecutors with the highest plea bargain rates dismiss a small percentage of cases referred for prosecution. However, the population of a given county has no relationship to a propensity to negotiate pleas and the use of the negotiated plea is not a direct function of case pressure. Most prosecutors rely on administrative structure rather than formal policies to ensure the consistency of plea bargaining, a process usually initiated by a public defender and marked by heavy judicial participation. Finally, defendants charged with multiple felonies are more likely to negotiate than are other defendants. Without better data collection, it is not possible to study the critical issues of determining the effects of plea bargaining on the quality of justice and on recidivism and of deciding whether plea negotiation should be encouraged or discouraged. A total of 12 tables, 82 footnotes, and 50 references are provided. Appended materials include survey instruments, sample plea bargaining guidelines, and forms currently in use in Pennsylvania.
Index Term(s): Caseloads; Criminal proceedings; Defendants; Dispositions; Pennsylvania; Plea negotiations; Prosecution; Prosecutorial discretion; Prosecutors; Studies
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