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Plea Bargaining in the American Justice System

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Clark Neily
Clark Neily

Senior Vice President for Legal Studies, Cato Institute

98.3% of federal criminal convictions were reached through plea bargains in 2022. Explore the procedure of plea bargaining and why it is so prevalent in our justice system. Clark Neily, Senior Vice President for Legal Studies at the Cato Institute, considers the coercive nature of plea bargains and its lack of regulation in our Foundations of Criminal Proceedings video series. This is designed for high school students and may be used independently or in conjunction with our criminal proceedings units.

Discussion question suggestions:

  • Why is the popularity of plea bargaining a problem?
  • Is plea bargaining unconstitutional?