How Plea Bargaining Creates a Permanent Criminal Class
A blistering critique of America’s assembly-line approach to criminal justice and the shameful practice at its core: the plea bargain
Most Americans believe that the jury trial is the backbone of our criminal justice system. But in fact, the vast majority of cases never make it to trial: almost all criminal convictions are the result of a plea bargain, a deal made entirely out of the public eye.
Law professor and civil rights lawyer Dan Canon argues that plea bargaining may swiftly dispose of cases, but it also fuels an unjust system. This practice produces a massive underclass of people who are restricted from voting, working, and otherwise participating in society. And while innocent people plead guilty to crimes they did not commit in exchange for lesser sentences, the truly guilty can get away with murder.
With heart-wrenching stories, fierce urgency, and an insider’s perspective, Pleading Out exposes the ugly truth about what’s wrong with America’s criminal justice system today—and offers a prescription for meaningful change.