The ubiquity of plea bargaining in the United States and in England and Wales is noted, as is its emergence in other countries. The issues that a normative analysis of plea bargaining must confront are identified. These include the availability and magnitude of sentence or charge reductions, whether they should be fixed or subject to negotiation, whether they should shorten or preclude trials, and which parties should be involved in plea negotiations. The crucial distinction between trial penalties and waiver rewards is signaled, as is the distinction between the analysis of plea bargaining in ideal versus non-ideal contexts, where the latter encompasses the possibility of overcriminalization in all its guises. An overview of the book’s conclusions is provided.
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