Moriarty on Plea Bargaining and the Defense Dilemma of Competent Representation
The proposed amendments to the ABA Criminal Justice Standards for Prosecutors and Defense Lawyers ("Proposed Standards") address a number of problematic issues related to the roles of both prosecutors and defense attorneys. This Symposium Article considers waiver of rights in the context of the Standards, focusing on guilty pleas and the so-called "preconditions" that prosecutors generally require before even entertaining the defendant’s proffer, colloquially termed "Queen for a Day" agreements It reviews the development in the law since 1993, the changes in the practice since that time, and the proposed changes to the Standards. The article focuses on the complex obligations of criminal defense attorneys to investigate their cases and give competent advice to their clients in the shadow of proffers and pleas. It concludes that attorneys in this role face an almost insoluble dilemma and hopes that the Proposed Standards provide an important first step to resolving it.