We will watch the video in class on Tuesday, November 5th but you may watch it again online: https://video.pbs.org/video/2216784391/. Treat the video material like lecture material. (It will be covered on Quiz 5, as well.)
The video presents case studies in the role of plea bargaining in the American system of criminal legal adjudication. This assignment focuses on the contemporary issue of plea bargaining (as depicted in The Plea) but will require you to apply knowledge from Weeks 8-9 readings and lectures.
Please answer each of the following questions in 1-2 pages each or 5-6 pages, total (typed, double-spaced, 11 or 12 point font). You may use your book and/or reading notes but should not use outside sources (other than the supplemental links included on this sheet) or work with other students. Please do not use direct quotations from the book or supplemental links but rather paraphrase ideas in your own words.
Summarize the major facts of each of case presented in film. These observations are the ?data? that you will need to explain in your essay. Limit this answer to 1 page (double-spaced).
What conditions are required in order for plea bargains to be considered valid? (HINT: there are 5 conditions following from Brady v. United States 1970.) Are these requirements met in all of the cases seen in the film? Use specific examples from the cases in the film (i.e., your ?data? from question 1) to illustrate instances where these conditions were or were not met.
In what ways is plea bargaining considered by some to be controversial? (HINT: there were 6 specific reasons given in lecture; you will need to identify and summarize each reason.) What are the consequences of plea bargaining for the innocent accused? Use specific examples from the cases in the film (i.e., your ?data? from question 1) to illustrate these controversies.
Define (in your own words) what is meant by the phrase ?courtroom workgroup? and explain its defining characteristics (HINT: discussed in lecture). How is it associated with plea bargaining, especially in states or communities that lack financial resources? What are the consequences for criminal defense for indigent (low-income) defendants? Use specific examples from the cases in the film (i.e., your ?data? from question 1) to illustrate these concepts.
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