New Scholarship Spotlight: Reducing Guilty Pleas Through Exoneree Compensations

Professors Murat Mungan and Jonathan Klick have posted the above-titled article on SSRN.  Download here.  The abstract states:

A great concern with plea-bargains is that they may induce innocent individuals to plead guilty to crimes they have not committed. In this article, we identify schemes that reduce the number of innocent-pleas without affecting guilty individuals’ plea-bargain incentives. Large compensations for exonerees reduce expected costs associated with wrongful determinations of guilt in trial and thereby reduce the number of innocent-pleas. Any distortions in guilty individuals’ incentives to take plea bargains caused by these compensations can be off-set by a small increase in the discounts offered for pleading guilty. Although there are many statutory reform proposals for increasing exoneration compensations, no one has yet noted this desirable separating effect of exoneree compensations. We argue that such reforms are likely to achieve this result without causing deterrence losses.

4 responses to “New Scholarship Spotlight: Reducing Guilty Pleas Through Exoneree Compensations

  1. I didn’t STUDY the article, but I did scan it, and it seems to me this is a little wacky. How many indicted defendants, when contemplating a plea deal, are going to calculate their “expected utility?”

  2. A common-sense proposal may be to limit plea bargains (or “trial penalties”) to a certain percentage of the proposed sentence if the alleged perpetrator goes to trial. Somewhere in the 30% range seems reasonable to me. (3 years off a 10 year sentence, 1 year off a 3 year sentence, ec.) I know of a case, personally, where the defendant was charged with 1st degree murder – mandatory life w/o parole in Michigan – that was later reduced to manslaughter with a minimum 3-year sentence in exchange for a “no contest” guilty plea. I am aware of another murder case that ended in an Alford Plea and probation. In what universe do we give murderers a probationary sentence with no reasonable time-served? More to the point, who isn’t going to take this deal?

    It seems that this type of approach could still be favored by “tough on crime” politicians without repercussions from the electorate. Joe Sixpack doesn’t want to hear about an murderer getting 3 years in prison. Once an offer is made, the prosecution should be bound by a reasonable set of charges and sentencing at trial (unless “new evidence” comes to light, obviously).

  3. 100% Crapola!
    Professors promoting other professors nonsense in which they have no clue as to what they are talking about.

    Shame on you Mr. Godsey, you didn’t even take time to comment on the crap you thought worthy of promoting. Did you even read it? Phil couldn’t bring himself to read it all and decided to just scan it and all he muster was – “a little wacky”. Jeremy totally disregarded it all and offered up his scholarship spotlight. Sadly, students under their spells will attempt to spread this infection and be met with ridicule.

    NOTE: Professors, if you want to participate in the criminal justice system reformation movement, please refrain from authoring articles regarding Plea Bargains and solutions to reducing guilty pleas. You suck at it. Instead, please consider looking into writing about Real solutions.

    Think about this – *One Plea Per Case with: absolutely no opportunity to change it after a jury has been impaneled will reduce wrongful convictions via: unnecessary TapOuts. If your lawyer advises you to take the plea simply because you are on probation at the time of arrest on new unrelated charge, (telling you it was revoked immediately upon arrest) Guilty or Not you are going to prison. You may want to consider obtaining a second opinion from a Real CDL. And maybe give your Probation Officer a call to confirm. Board Certified Criminal Defense Lawyers represent the criminally accused, as Divorce & Estate specialist aren’t qualified but will gladly assist you, if you wish to go from Defendant to Convict at lunch recess. Thanks.

  4. “Board Certified” ???

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