Plea Bargaining

Mary E. Vogel

in Coercion to Compromise

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780195101751
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199851461 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Socio-Legal Studies

Plea Bargaining

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This chapter traces the beginnings of plea bargaining in antebellum Boston, Massachusetts, the first sustained instance of the practice known, thus far, to exist. It explores the social origins of plea bargaining and the adaptations of it that took place as the practice rose to prominence, and examines how judges drew on a unique element of common law legal culture called episode leniency as they responded to a perceived crisis of social order. The chapter highlights how plea bargaining profoundly changed the nature of criminal justice, and discusses issues concerning the beginnings of plea bargaining in partisan contest and political stabilization.

Keywords: plea bargaining; antebellum Boston; Massachusetts; social origins; judges; legal culture; social order; criminal justice; partisan contest; political stabilization

Chapter.  13916 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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