Is Plea Bargaining Color Blind?

A guilty plea is likely to win you less leniency in sentencing if you’re an African-American male, according to a study published in Justice Quarterly. With 95% of all convictions the result of guilty pleas—many of them arranged through plea bargaining—the study authors argue that more attention needs to be paid to potential bias in the early phases of case processing.

Groups Sue Louisiana Over Lack of Lawyers for Poor

The lawsuit describes defendants waiting months in jail to meet a lawyer, defenders who are overworked and so little funding that in some areas, low-level offenders don’t get a public defender at all. Without lawyers to advocate for them, some defendants have been advised to plead guilty rather than pursue their right to try clearing their names.