New Study: Plea Bargaining Can Create Significant Risk of Wrongful Conviction
June 15, 2012 at 9:25 AM
A new empirical study conducted by Lucian Dervan, Assistant Professor of Law at Southern Illinois University, and Vanessa Edkins, Assistant Professor of Psychology at the Florida Institute of Technology, reveals that students are likely to take plea bargains and confess to cheating even when they are innocent.
As anticipated, the study found that many, nine out of ten, guilty students accepted the plea bargain. But the researchers were surprised to find that the majority, 60% of innocent students also confessed in order to get a more lenient punishment. The research demonstrates that plea bargaining has the potential to capture far more innocent defendants than previously predicted.
Plea bargains are an important aspect of the criminal justice system because they save time and the expense of a trial, however, as the study reveals, caution must be taken by those involved in the process to make sure that the result is justice and not a wrongful conviction.
Read the study here.