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Flawed Convictions"Shaken Baby Syndrome" and the Inertia of Injustice$
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Deborah Tuerkheimer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199913633

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199913633.001.0001

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Guilty Pleas

Guilty Pleas

(p.159) 8 Guilty Pleas
Flawed Convictions

Deborah Tuerkheimer

Oxford University Press

When defendants in SBS cases plead guilty or no-contest, there are increasingly large disparities between the agreed-upon sentence and the defendant’s likely sentence after trial. “Lopsided” pleas entail a decided asymmetry between the seriousness of the formal charge, on the one hand; and the ultimate case disposition, on the other. This chapter considers the development of steep sentencing discounts as a reflection of a system in the midst of recalibration—a system in flux. It then explains why lopsided SBS pleas raise special concerns for innocence.

Keywords:   guilty pleas, no-contest pleas, lopsided pleas, steep sentencing discounts, system in flux, innocence

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