Plea Bargaining In US Under Judicial Scrutiny

Author:Mr Patrick Ploeger, Marnix Somsen and Roan Lamp
Profession:De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek N.V.

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution gives a criminal defendant a right to a fair trial. On 21 March 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled that this constitutional right also includes a right to an effective lawyer during plea bargaining negotiations. Consequently, the right of effective counsel in all parts of a criminal proceeding is strengthened by applying it to the entire plea bargaining process.

The US Supreme Court formulated this new standard in two recent cases (Missouri v Frye and Lafler v Cooper), in which legal advice of counsel led the defendant to reject a favourable plea bargain. The Supreme Court argued that had the lawyers counselled the defendants well, they would have taken the shorter sentence. To win a...

To continue reading