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.
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