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The Ethics of Plea Bargaining$
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Richard L. Lippke

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199641468

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641468.001.0001

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Principled Criminal Prosecution and Half-Loaves

Principled Criminal Prosecution and Half-Loaves

(p.191) 8 Principled Criminal Prosecution and Half-Loaves
The Ethics of Plea Bargaining

Richard L. Lippke

Oxford University Press

In some instances, state officials offer defendants substantial waiver rewards because they recognize that the evidence which they have is short of conclusive. It is thought better to secure some punishment of defendants than to risk trials at which they might be acquitted. This “half-loaf” defense of plea bargaining is the subject of Chapter 8. It is argued that principled prosecutors and judges would not seek to bypass fair procedures designed to protect the innocent. Principled state officials will thus eschew half-loaf plea bargaining. They will offer modest waiver rewards, proceed to trial if defendants refuse such offers, or drop charges for which there is insufficient evidence. The hard cases will be those in which state officials have inadmissible evidence which they are certain confirms the guilt of individuals with respect to serious crimes. These cases are examined at length.

Keywords:   criminal prosecution, procedural justice, innocent defendants, half-loaves, standard of proof, waiver rewards

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