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


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This concluding chapter sums up the key finding of this study on the history of plea bargaining. The result indicates that plea bargaining emerged in Boston, Massachusetts during the 1830s and 1840s as part of a political struggle to stabilize and legitimate newly established democratic institutions. The Bostonians' reworked elements of episodic leniency created a legal practice, known as plea bargaining, that constituted a new legal and political form for an age of popular politics. The chapter also discusses the political and legal implications of plea bargaining. These include the emergence of a powerful system of social control, the reassertion of a kind of secular community, and the creation of links between the courts and employers that reinforced the workplace as a central element of societal social control.

Keywords: plea bargaining; Boston; Massachusetts; political struggle; democratic institutions; episodic leniency; popular politics; social control; secular community; workplace

Chapter.  1178 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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