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NEGOTIATED JUSTICE - PRESSURES TO PLEAD GUILTY

NCJ Number
46712
Author(s)
J BALDWIN; M MCCONVILLE; C M CAMPBELL; P WILES
Date Published
1977
Annotation
THE SOCIAL AND LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF INDUCING DEFENDANTS TO PLEAD GUILTY IN THE INTERESTS OF ADMINISTRATIVE EFFICIENCY IS STUDIED IN THE BRITISH COURT SYSTEM.
Abstract
THE EVIDENCE GATHERED FROM PERSONAL INTERVIEWS WITH 121 DEFENDENTS IN THE BIRMINGHAM (ENGLAND) COURT SYSTEM STRONGLY SUGGESTS THAT MANY OF THE DEFENDANTS WHO WERE EITHER INNOCENT OR UNLIKELY TO BE CONVICTED WERE PRESSURED BY THEIR DEFENSE COUNSEL TO PLEAD GUILTY. WHILE THE LAWYERS' BEHAVIOR IS CRITICIZED, THE MAIN DEFECTS HIGHLIGHTED BY THE STUDY LIE IN THE STRUCTURE OF THE LEGAL PROCESS ITSELF, PRIMARILY IN THE LACK OF ADEQUATE SAFEGUARDS FOR THE ACCUSED WHEN UNDER INITIAL POLICE INTERROGATION AND IN THE CONSIDERABLE REDUCTION IN SENTENCE OFTEN GIVEN AS AN INDUCEMENT TO PLEAD GUILTY. THE AUTHORS MAINTAIN THAT THE INJUSTICES ENCOUNTERED IN THEIR RESEARCH ARE PRODUCED BY A SYSTEM WHICH GIVES TOO LITTLE PROTECTION TO THE INNOCENT AND TOO OFTEN SACRIFICES THE NEEDS OF THE DEFENDANT TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF BUREAUCRATIC EFFICIENCY. THE RESULTS OF THIS STUDY WERE HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL, AND WERE OPPOSED BY THE BRITISH BAR. NOTES AND REFERENCES FOLLOW EACH CHAPTER. A BIBLIOGRAPHY AND TABULAR DATA ARE INCLUDED. CITED COURT CASES ARE LISTED. (DJM)