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Plea Bargaining is a practical course designed to enrich students' understanding of the pre-trial criminal process of negotiating a guilty plea in a criminal case. The vast majority of criminal convictions -- more than ninety percent -- come not from a public trial verdict, but rather after a closed negotiation process ending in a guilty plea. In this course, we will examine plea bargaining and guilty plea jurisprudence, theory, and practice. We will explore the role of the prosecutor, defender, and judge in plea bargaining, including ethical considerations for these institutional actors. Other topics include the collateral consequences of guilty pleas; client intake and interview; bail and detention hearings; and negotiation theory in the criminal context. In order to fully understand the steps of a plea negotiation, the class will learn and simulate various pre-trial processes including client intake, arraignment, plea negotiations, and the actual guilty plea itself.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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First Class Readings
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