Criminal Justice: An End to Copping

The pitch usually goes like this: "The district attorney has you dead to rights. But if you plead guilty to a lesser charge and save the state the time and expense of a trial, I will let you off with a light sentence." The offer comes from a judge. The second party to the bargain is a nervous defendant accused of a crime, almost certain to be convicted, and tempted to "cop a plea." The prac tice is one of long standing. And it has advantages for the public as well as the...

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