Professor Suja Thomas recently contributed a guest post to Sentencing Law and Policy on the Fourth Circuit's reaction to a district judge's rejection of plea bargains. She wrote:
"...While the Fourth Circuit addressed Judge Goodwin’s rejection of plea bargaining, the opinion is disappointing. In upholding his decision, it focused on only Judge Goodwin’s analysis of the defendant’s criminal history and violence. And it suggested that Judge Goodwin’s broader considerations such as the cultural context of the offenses were irrelevant. Similarly, in concurrence, Judge Niemeyer stated that the court would have abused its discretion if it had rejected plea bargaining based on the government’s frequent use for the reason of convenience. Id. at 254.
"The Fourth Circuit missed an opportunity. It could have addressed some of the problems tagged by Judge Goodwin — that constitutionally-enshrined juries decide few cases and that the courts accept plea bargaining as necessary for efficiency — despite no constitutional backing for this proposition."
Read the full post.