Course Description

601:679.PLEA BARGAINING (3 Credits) S


Plea bargaining is the grease that keeps the gears of the criminal justice system turning.  Trials are nearly extinct, and the vast majority of criminal cases at the state and federal levels are resolved by the defendant engaging in plea bargaining and admitting guilt to some offense.  As plea bargaining becomes the way in which cases are resolved, practitioners, academics and courts, including the Supreme Court, have taken notice and adjusted their approach to the criminal system.  This course will consider how plea bargaining has changed the criminal justice system, the practice of law, and our understanding of due process and punishment. Students will explore these topics through the study of doctrine, and will also engage in several plea bargaining simulations over the course of the semester. By negotiating pleas in simulated criminal cases students will reflect on the benefits and drawbacks of the plea process.