Showing posts from August, 2019

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