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Report No. 142

3.3.1. Origin.-

The practise of "Plea-bargaining" in America goes back a century or more. One study found it, for example, in Alameda County, California, in about the 1880s. Judges in the County even talked about the way they gave credit for guilty pleas. "Plea-bargaining" was not as pervasive as it is now... not even close to it but it was by no means rare.

3.3.2. Extent of prevalence.-

Entering a guilty plea is greatly prevalent in many American States. In 1839, in New York State, one out of every four criminal cases ended with a guilty plea. By the middle of the century there were guilty pleas in half the cases. In Alameda County, one out of three felony defendants pleaded guilty. In 1920s guilty pleas accounted for 88 out of 100 convictions in New York City, 85 out of 100 in Chicago, 70 out of 100 in Dallas and 79 out of 100 in Des Moines, Iowa. It has kept its dominance ever since.1 In short, one can trace a steady and marked decline in number of trials by jury in America from the early 19th century on.

1. Source: American Law-Crimes & Punishments, pp. 168-169.

Concessional Treatment for Offenders who on their own initiative choose to plead guilty without any bargaining Back

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