Criminal Justice-COLL | Pleas, Trials, and Sentences
P450 | 12951 | Luskin


On February 22, 2010, Najibullah Zazi pled guilty in federal court
to charges including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction
against U.S. targets.  On that same day, thousands of other
defendants pled guilty in federal and state courts to charges
ranging from public intoxication to murder.  The Bill of Rights
promises criminal defendants a speedy and public trial before an
impartial jury, but few defendants will ever hear a jury’s verdict.
Instead they will convict themselves through pleas of guilty.  Why
is this so?  What is the place of negotiation in an adversary
system?  Indeed, what is an adversary system?  In this seminar we
will study trials and pleas and their relation to one another in the
disposition of criminal cases.  We will begin with an examination of
the adversary system and the modern criminal trial, after which, we
will turn our attention to the question of plea bargaining -- its
origins, its nature, and its consequences for individuals and
society.  Along the way, we will look at the place of plea
negotiation in both ordinary and exceptional cases, in other legal
systems, and in international criminal tribunals.

Requirements:  Students will be called upon to read, discuss, and to
write. Class sessions will emphasize discussion, but will include
short lectures and in-class writing assignments.  Students will be
given practice in drawing implications from what they read,
marshaling evidence, and presenting arguments.

Class will satisfy:  intensive writing requirement, social and
historical distribution requirement

Readings:  available through e-reserve and OnCurse

Class meeting:  Daily, 10:20-11:35

Instructor:  Professor Mary Lee Luskin, criminal justice department