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66 Denv. U. L. Rev. 243 (1988-1989)
Felony Plea Bargaining in Six Colorado Judicial Districts: A Limited Inquiry into the Nature of the Process

handle is hein.journals/denlr66 and id is 281 raw text is: FELONY PLEA BARGAINING IN SIX COLORADO
No,    no!   said   the   Queen.     Sentence    first-verdict
Breaking rocks in the hot, hot sun. I fought the law and the
law won.2
Brought up to believe that the soul of the American justice
system is based on the determination of truth, and the protec-
tion of the individual, many feel betrayed by the plea bargain-
ing system.'3
Most felony cases are resolved by a plea of guilty: Not necessarily a
plea to the crime actually charged, but rather an induced negotiated plea
to a charge that may, in some instances, be less serious than the crime
that was actually committed.4 Although plea bargaining5 has been con-
sistently endorsed by the United States Supreme Court,6 much of the
relevant literature implies that this practice is a pathological deviation
DistrictJudge, SeventhJudicial District, Gunnison, Colorado. B.A.,J.D., University of
Florida; Master of Judicial Studies 1989 (forthcoming) University of Nevada-Reno.
This article is in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master ofJudicial Stud-
ies degree program at the University of Nevada-Reno, in cooperation with the National
Judicial College.
The author thanks the clerks and court administrators who helped him gather infor-
mation from their files, the judges and lawyers who patiently answered his many questions,
and the individuals whose criticism and assistance helped make this a better article, includ-
ing: Professors Malcolm Feeley, James Richardson, James Berry and Pat Sterling; Judges
Charles McGee (Nevada), Jerry Lincoln, John Kuenhold, Charles Buss and Joseph Bel-
lipanni; and, research associate Marlene Thornton of the National Center for State Courts.
GLASS 122 (1966).
2. Sonny Curtis (1966).
3. Note, Plea Bargaining: The New Hampshire Ban , 9 NEw ENG. J. CRIM. & CIV. CON-
FINEMENT 387, 396 (1983).
4. Davis, Griffiths and Napoleon, Bargain-Basement Justice: Judicial Responsibility for the
Plea Bargaining System, 25 N.Y.U. L. REV. 319, 321 (1979).
5. In this article, the term plea bargaining will be used to mean any process by
which inducements are offered in exchange for any concession of criminal liability. This
broad definition which was borrowed from Weninger's, The Abolition of Plea Bargaining: A
Case Study of El Paso County, Texas, 35 UCLA L. REV. 265 (1987), has been used because
techniques such as deferred judgments and dismissals with restitution, which do not al-
ways produce formal determinations of guilt, were frequently observed.
6. Bordenkircher v. Hayes, 434 U.S. 357, 365 (1978); Blackledge v. Perry, 417 U.S.
21, 29 (1974); Chaffin v. Stynchcombe, 412 U.S. 17, 31 (1973); Santobello v. New York,
404 U.S. 257, 260 (1971).

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