Showing posts from July, 2021

New Plea Bargaining Articles re the Impact of COVID-19

Two new articles have been released discussing the impact of COVID-19 on the plea bargaining system.  The first is by Professors Miko Wilford, David Zimmerman, Shi Yan, and Kelly Sutherland, entitled Innocence in the Shadow of COVID-19: Plea Decision Making During a Pandemic . From the abstract: Over 95% of criminal convictions in the United States are the result of guilty pleas. Consequently, it is critical that we ensure the process of pleading guilty is as free of coercion as possible. Yet, research has indicated that incarcerating defendants to await trial could have an undue influence on their decision to plead guilty. The current research employed a novel computer simulation to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on plea decision making among the innocent and the guilty when faced with potential pretrial detention. While presenting COVID-related information to participants increased both true and false guilty pleas, further analyses indicated that concerns about COVID-19

The New York Times Magazine - I Write About the Law. But Could I Really Help Free a Prisoner? by Emily Bazelon

Emily Bazelon has an excellent article in The New York Times Magazine that readers will enjoy. The article details how she and her sister, Lara Bazelon, worked to exonerate Yutico Briley. Terry Gross described the events as follows on FRESH AIR.  While serving a 60-year sentence with no possibility of parole for an armed robbery in New Orleans that he insisted he didn't commit, Yutico Briley wrote dozens of letters to lawyers, innocence projects and anyone he thought could help him get out of prison. In 2019, after seven years in prison, he heard my guest Emily Bazelon interviewed on FRESH AIR. We were talking about her book "Charged," about how prosecutors had gained breathtaking power in the past 40 years and used it to put more people in prison, ripping apart poor communities, mostly Black or brown. Briley wrote to her, but she didn't even read his letter until a couple of months later when a librarian in Oregon, who corresponded with Briley through a support prog