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Why Should Guilty Pleas Matter?

Brooks, Thom



Julian V. Roberts

Jesper Ryberg


Most offenders plead guilty without a trial. Their guilty plea typically earns a reduced punishment. It raises the issue of why should guilty pleas matter. This chapter considers the use of plea bargaining in the United States and guilty plea discounts in England and Wales. While the former is found deeply problematic, a limited defence of the latter is made. Offenders should normally receive discounted punishment and for more than instrumental reasons. However, there must be more robust safeguards in place to ensure greater consistency and fairness for the use of guilty plea reductions to be justified more substantially.


Brooks, T. (2023). Why Should Guilty Pleas Matter?. In J. V. Roberts, & J. Ryberg (Eds.), Sentencing the Self-Convicted: The Ethics of Pleading Guilty. Hart Publishing

Acceptance Date Apr 1, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 5, 2023
Publication Date Feb 23, 2023
Deposit Date Apr 5, 2022
Publisher Hart Publishing
Book Title Sentencing the Self-Convicted: The Ethics of Pleading Guilty
Publisher URL