Showing posts from 2019

The Pursuit Podcast - Pressured to Plead Guilty

Readers of this blog will be interested to listen to the recently released podcast from The Pursuit  entitled "Pressured to Plead Guilty." In the podcast, I offer thoughts on the role of plea bargaining in the modern American criminal justice system. The podcast also features  Clark Neily (Vice President for Criminal Justice at the Cato Institute), Kevin Ring (President of Families Against Mandatory Minimums), and Molly Gill (Vice President of Policy at Families Against Mandatory Minimums).  The podcast does a wonderful job of weaving together  policy considerations and the history of plea bargaining with the story of  Kevin Ring's difficult decision whether to take a plea deal in return for a significant offer of leniency.  Thank you to Landry Ayres and the Cato Institute for putting together such an informative and engaging discussion of plea bargaining. It was an honor to appear on the program. As I said in my closing thoughts during the podcast, "[W]e think

Professor Dervan Testifies Before the Federal Senate of Brazil

On August 6, 2019, I had the opportunity to testify before the Federal Senate of Brazil regarding proposed legislation that would have created a sweeping formal plea bargaining system in the country.   The American system of plea bargaining is so dominant today that one would be forgiven for imagining that this style of criminal procedure must have deep historical roots around the globe.  The truth, however, is that  for most of history the common law has rejected plea bargaining as prohibitively coercive and an affront to the truth-seeking mission of the criminal justice system, an approach still taken in many common law countries today.    Plea bargaining as it is known today in the United States is actually a relatively recent American invention that appeared first in a significant way around the time of the American civil war, later became a tool of corruption during the early twentieth century, and eventually gained widespread use and legitimacy as a response to the burdens o