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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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Waiver Rewards and the Reduction of Crime

Waiver Rewards and the Reduction of Crime

Chapter:
(p.119) 5 Waiver Rewards and the Reduction of Crime
Source:
The Ethics of Plea Bargaining
Author(s):

Richard L. Lippke

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641468.003.0006

Large and variable waiver rewards have also been defended on the grounds that they enable state officials to process significantly more criminal cases given their fixed resources, thereby strengthening the deterrent signals sent by legal punishment. This crime reduction rationale for such waiver rewards is shown to be unpersuasive. Alternatives, such as modest, fixed rewards or negotiable but capped rewards, will likely have comparable crime reduction effects. Also, to the extent that we permit freewheeling forms of plea bargaining, we risk undermining the norm-reinforcement function of the criminal law. It seems better, if our aim is to keep crime in check, for state officials to convey the message that offending is a serious thing that will be given little quarter. Further, overcriminalization in all its forms is shown to complicate the crime reduction analysis of plea bargaining.

Keywords:   waiver rewards, crime reduction, deterrence, criminal law, norm reinforcement, overcriminalization

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