Pleading Innocents: Laboratory Evidence of Plea Bargaining's Innocence Problem

I recently posted my article entitled "Pleading Innocents: Laboratory Evidence of Plea Bargaining's Innocence Problem" to SSRN for free download. 

Below is the article's full abstract.  A free copy of the article is available for download by clicking here.


Vanessa A. Edkins and Lucian E. Dervan, Pleading Innocents:  Laboratory Evidence of Plea Bargaining’s Innocence Problem, 21 Current Research in Social Psychology 14 (2013) (peer reviewed)

We investigated plea bargaining by making students actually guilty or innocent of a cheating offense and varying the sentence that they would face if found ‘guilty’ by a review board. As hypothesized, guilty students were more likely than innocent students to accept a plea deal (i.e., admit guilt and lose credit; akin to accepting a sentence of probation) (Chi-square=8.63, p<.01) but we did not find an effect of sentence severity. Innocent students, though not as likely to plead as guilty students, showed an overall preference (56% across conditions) for accepting a plea deal. Implications and future directions are discussed.

"The Innocent Defendant’s Dilemma: An Innovative Empirical Study of Plea Bargaining’s Innocence Problem," 103 Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 1 (2013): A longer law review article discussing the findings and examining the implications of the results on the constitutionality of plea bargaining is available by clicking here


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