Criminal Justice-COAS | Pleas, Trials and Sentencing
P450 | 1443 | Mary Lee 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 shall begin with an
overview of the adversary system, the jury, and the criminal trial;
then we shall turn to plea bargaining -- its origins, its nature, and
its consequences.  We will consider the desirability and feasibility
of alternatives to plea bargaining including bans on plea bargaining,
bench brials, and changes to the jury trial itself.

Readings: Students will read a selection of articles from a vatiety of disciplines. Representative examples include the following:
Abramson, Jeffrey, 2000, We, the Jury, Harvard University Press
Brereton, David, and Jonathan Casper. 1982. "Does It Pay to Plead Guilty? Differential Sentencing and the Function of the Criminal Courts." Law and Society Review 16:45
Fisher, George. 2000 "Plea Bargaining's Triumph." Yale Law Journal. 109:857
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 Case book Series. St. Paul, Minnewota: West Publishing co. pp. 1-139

Class Meeting: Wednesday, 2:30 - 5:00 p.m., Sy 200

Instructor: Professor Mary Lee Luskin, criminal justice department