Criminal Justice-coas | Pleas Trials and Sentences
P450 | 1561 | Luskin
The overwhelming majority of criminal convictions in the United States
result not from jury verdicts but from pleas of guilty. In this course we
will examine pleas, plea bargaining, and trials in the disposition of
criminal cases. What is the place of negotiation in an adversary system?
What are negotiations really like? What are its consequences for
individuals and society? We will begin with an overview of the adversary
system and the criminal trial, and then turn to plea bargaining -- its
origins, its nature, and its consequences. We will consider the
desirability and feasibility of alternatives to plea bargaining as the
dominant mode of case disposition, including bans on plea bargaining, bench
trials, and changes to the jury trial itself.
Readings: Students will read a selection of articles from a variety of
disciplines. Representative examples include the following:
Bradley, Craig M. 1993. "Reforming the Criminal Trial." "Indiana Law
Brereton, David, and Jonathan Casper. 1982. "Does It Pay to
Plea Guilty? Differential Sentencing and the Function of the Criminal
Courts." "Law and Society Review" 16:45.
Friedman, Lawrence M. 1979. "Plea Bargaining in Historical
Perspective." "Law and Society Review" 13:247-258.
Landsman, Stephan. 1988. "Introduction to the Adversary
System." In "Readings on Adversarial Justice: The American Approach to
Adjudication," ed. Stephan Landsman, Section of Litigation American Bar
Association. American Casebook Series. St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing
Co, pp. 1-39.
Schulhofer, Stephen J. "No Job Too Small: Justice Without
Bargaining in the Lower Criminal Courts." "American Bar Foundation Research
Requirements: Students will be asked to complete short weekly written
assignments, to write a review, and a longer paper based on research on a
major trial. There will also be a final exam. Students will have the
opportunity to rewrite one or more assignments. The course will be offered
for intensive writing credit.
Class Meeting: T, 2:30-5:00, SY 200
Instructor: Mary Lee Luskin, Criminal Justice Department