Tag: plea bargains

Supeme Court Extends Right to Counsel to Plea Bargains

The Supreme Court today ruled defendants have the right to effective assistance of counsel during plea bargain negotiations.

The cases are Lafler v. Cooper, No. 10-209, and Missouri v. Frye, No. 10-444.

In Lafler, the court said where a defendant rejects a plea offer on the advice of counsel and proceeds to trial, in order to show counsel was ineffective,

[H]e must show that but for the ineffective advice, there is a reasonable probability that the plea offer would have been presented to the court, that the court would have accepted its terms, and that the conviction or sentence, or both, under the offer’s terms would have been less severe than under the actual judgment and sentence imposed.

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New Report on Plea Bargains

Via Sentencing Law and Policy, this article in Harvard's Journal of Legal Analysis rebuts the notion that plea bargains are good for defendants:

How can a prosecutor, who has only limited resources, credibly threaten so many defendants with costly and risky trials and extract plea bargains involving harsh sentences? Had defendants refused to settle, many of them would not have been charged or would have escaped with lenient sanctions. But such collective stonewalling requires coordination among defendants, which is difficult if not impossible to attain. Moreover, the prosecutor, by strategically timing and targeting her plea offers, can create conflicts of interest among defendants, frustrating any attempt at coordination.


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