KEY FEATURES • A brief introduction to the U.S. judicial system and to the public policy dimension of judicial decisions provides context for the material. • Criminal and regulatory laws are presented with contrasting views on various contemporary public policy issues, including assault weapons, hate crimes, stand your ground laws, police use of deadly force, and much more. • A question for debate and learning objectives appear at the beginning of each chapter. The debate format features contemporary topical issues that engage students and ask them to consider various points of view. • Brief essays introduce students to each debate and put the issue into context to help students understand how policy issues arise in criminal justice and law. • Summaries of the positions follow the debate sections to ensure students have a clear understanding of the contrasting arguments. • “You Decide” exercises and discussion questions appear at the end of each debate to give students the opportunity to apply what they read to new and novel situations.

Guilty Pleas: Plea Bargaining

Guilty Pleas: Plea Bargaining

3.1 guilty pleas: Plea bargaining

Does Plea Bargaining Result in Fair and Just Verdicts?

Learning Objectives

  • Know the definition of plea bargaining.
  • Understand the various types of bargains between prosecutors and defense attorneys.
  • Comprehend the constitutional rights that an individual waives by pleading guilty.
  • Know the legal protections surrounding plea bargaining.
  • Understand the arguments for and against plea bargaining.

Support Plea Bargaining

Justice Byron White, majority opinion, Brady v. United States, 397 U.S. 742 (1970)

Oppose Plea Bargaining

Justice Brent Appel, majority opinion, Rhoades v. State, Iowa Supreme Court, No. 15-1169 (2016)

Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting, Lafler v. Cooper, 566 U.S. ___ (2012)


The vast majority of criminal cases are not brought to trial and instead are disposed of prior to trial by a guilty plea. In a plea bargain, the defendant agrees ...

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