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Plea Bargaining Implementation and Acceptance in Modern Russia: A Disconnect Between the Legal Institutions and the Citizens

NCJ Number
International Criminal Justice Review Volume: 19 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2009 Pages: 400-432
Olga B. Semukhina; K. Michael Reynolds
Date Published
December 2009
33 pages
This study examined the scope, results, citizen attitudes, and practices of consensual justice reform in Russia.
The Russian Federation adopted a new Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) in December of 2001, which included a procedure closely resembling plea bargaining and termed "special court order proceedings." Findings indicate that in the 6 years after the policy on the special court order proceeding was adopted, it has become widely accepted and used by the lower trial courts. Both district courts and justices of the peace are using the special court order to resolve over one third of their cases. Official statistics from the Judicial Department of the Supreme Court and regional statistics summarized from the court reviews suggest a steady but consistent increase in the use of the special court order procedure within the justice system of Russia. It is doubtful that without new amendments to the CPC, the application of the special court order will continue to grow significantly. The United States' practice of disposing of up to 90 percent of all criminal cases via plea agreements has not been observed in Russia. Many Russian experts believe that the level of special court order proceedings will remain the same and never reach the U.S. levels or those in other common-law countries. This study includes research on typical legal practices and evaluates current public opinion related to the acceptance of the new special court order proceeding. Tables, appendixes, notes, and references