Principled Criminal Prosecution and Half-Loaves

Richard L. Lippke

in The Ethics of Plea Bargaining

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199641468
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732195 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

Principled Criminal Prosecution and Half-Loaves

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In some instances, state officials offer defendants substantial waiver rewards because they recognize that the evidence which they have is short of conclusive. It is thought better to secure some punishment of defendants than to risk trials at which they might be acquitted. This “half-loaf” defense of plea bargaining is the subject of Chapter 8. It is argued that principled prosecutors and judges would not seek to bypass fair procedures designed to protect the innocent. Principled state officials will thus eschew half-loaf plea bargaining. They will offer modest waiver rewards, proceed to trial if defendants refuse such offers, or drop charges for which there is insufficient evidence. The hard cases will be those in which state officials have inadmissible evidence which they are certain confirms the guilt of individuals with respect to serious crimes. These cases are examined at length.

Keywords: criminal prosecution; procedural justice; innocent defendants; half-loaves; standard of proof; waiver rewards

Chapter.  13799 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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