Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Juliet Horne (University of Warwick) has posted Plea Bargains, Guilty Pleas and the Consequences for Appeal in England and Wales on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The vast majority of defendants in England & Wales are convicted by way of guilty plea. The criminal justice system provides significant incentives for defendants to plead guilty, which give rise to a risk that defendants who are innocent may be pressurised into pleading guilty. As a consequence, it is important that the criminal justice system provides an effective appeal mechanism that seeks to detect and remedy wrongful convictions through guilty pleas. This paper argues that, unfortunately, consideration of the current appeal provision and the approach of the Court of Appeal to guilty pleas reveals that this is unlikely to happen. Further, it is argued that a contributory factor in this failure to address the risk of wrongful conviction by way of guilty plea is the contradiction and lack of clarity in the meaning attributed to the guilty plea at different stages within the criminal justice process.