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Plea Bargaining Institute Launches Website

Article by Plea Bargaining Institute
Mon 11 Dec 2023
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The Plea Bargaining Institute is pleased to announce the launching of the institute’s new website – The website contains valuable information that will assist the institute in its mission to create a global intellectual home for academics, policymakers, advocacy organizations, and practitioners working in the plea bargaining space to share knowledge and collaborate.

Lucian Dervan, Founding Director of the PBI said, “We are incredibly excited to launch the website today and begin the process of making research and caselaw regarding plea bargaining more accessible to those working in the field and to the public generally. One of the main missions of the PBI is to advance plea bargaining research and reform through the dissemination of knowledge. The website is one of the centerpieces of that work and will grow over time as more materials are added.”

The new website includes pages dedicated to plea bargaining reports, plea bargaining summaries, and institute events and news.

Of the website launch, Rebecca Shaeffer of the National Disability Rights Network and a member of the PBI Board of Advisors said, “The Plea Bargaining Institute has launched an incredible resource that captures for the first time the “hidden law” of plea bargaining that forms the daily operation of criminal adjudication in this country. It’s a groundbreaking effort that will be of immediate usefulness to criminal practitioners, researchers and advocates alike.”

The reports page creates a space where visitors can review materials both from the PBI and from other organizations. The page will contain reports from the PBI that capture research, analysis, and developments in the plea bargaining field. Currently, the page holds our report from the inaugural symposium.

The summaries page provides visitors with a searchable database of important case law and research summaries. Currently, the summaries database contains a curated collection of significant U.S. Supreme Court cases involving plea bargaining since 1970. A unique feature of the website database is the caselaw feature that tracks sentencing differentials – the difference between the sentence offered as part of a plea of guilty and the sentence faced or received after trial. Along with including information about particular sentencing differentials in case summaries where that information is available, the database also allows visitors to search the entire database of cases by differential size. The current database also includes a handful of academic articles regarding plea bargaining. A large curated collection of significant plea bargaining academic research covering several decades will be added shortly, and further summaries of  research and caselaw will be added on a rolling bases.

Michael Heiskell, President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said of the website launch and the summaries page, “NACDL applauds the launch of the Plea Bargaining Institute’s website, which will provide the defense community with curated research and caselaw on plea bargaining. Access to these critical resources will support defense attorneys around the country who fight to end the coercive effects of plea bargaining every day. NACDL looks forward to continuing its work with the Plea Bargaining Institute to turn this goal into reality.”

Pursuant to the PBI mission to create opportunities for dialogue and collaboration, the institute convenes and participates in various events throughout the year which can be found on the events page of the website. The focus of these events and the target audiences for these offerings vary, but each is designed to further the institute’s mission of sharing knowledge and creating opportunities for collaboration. The flagship event each year is the PBI Symposium.

The website’s news page is a place where you can catch up on the latest news regarding the PBI and regarding research and developments in the plea bargaining field.

Finally, in the contact us section of the website, visitors can sign up to receive email updates regarding the institute and its work.