Prof. Bennett Capers recently spoke with the New York Daily News about the plea bargain process, which critics say is broken and lands too many innocent people in prison. Nationwide, 97% of federal defendants plead guilty instead of taking their chances at trial. Thirty of 316 convicts exonerated by DNA evidence had entered a guilty plea, according to the Innocence Project.
Among the possible remedies is a mechanism that would designate junior judges to hear evidence and issue plea bargain recommendations early on in cases, as proposed by Manhattan Federal Judge Jed Rakoff. He argues that judges should become more involved in the process so prosecutors armed with harsh mandatory minimum sentences are less able to bully defendants,
Professor Capers, who spent 10 years as a federal prosecutor, hailed Judge Rakoff's push for experimentation: "I'm glad he's adding to the conversation.”
Read more about Prof. Bennett Capers.