The Public Interest

Torture and plea bargaining

John H. Langbein

Winter 1980

THE American system of plea bargaining is becoming a subject of immense academic and public attention. A dozen books have appeared in the last year or so describing plea bargaining as observed in one forum or another. The law reviews are full of writing about the details; a special issue of the Law and Society Review is now offering 20 more articles. The general theme of much of the current writing is that although, arguably, plea bargaining might be in need of various operational reforms, the basic institution is natural, inevitable, universal, and just.

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