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32 Hofstra L. Rev. 1349 (2003-2004)
Due Process Denied: Judicial Coercion in the Plea Bargaining Process

handle is hein.journals/hoflr32 and id is 1361 raw text is: DUE PROCESS DENIED: JUDICIAL COERCION IN
Richard Klein *
Our legal system is based on the principle that an independent, fair and
competent judiciary will interpret and apply the laws that govern us.
The role of the Ijudiciary is central to American concepts of justice and
the rule of law.
Felony Trial Court Judge in Detroit: All this stuff about jury trials and
due process, what it really amounts to is crooks getting not-guilty
* Professor of Law, Touro Law School; J.D. Harvard Law School, 1972.
1. MODEL CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT pmbl. (5th ed. 2000). The initial set of ethical
standards governing judges were the Canons of Judicial Ethics, but almost fifty years after the
Canons were first adopted, the House of Delegates of the ABA enacted the Code of Judicial
Conduct in 1972. The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility
determined in 1986 that a comprehensive review of the Code was appropriate. Four years later, the
Model Code of Judicial Conduct was adopted; it was amended in 1997, 1999, and 2003. See id. At
the August 2003 meeting of the ABA House of Delegates, amendments were adopted to the Model
Code of Judicial Conduct designed to address First Amendment challenges to restrictions on speech
during judicial campaigns. See American Judicature Society, Amendments to ABA Model Code
Adopted, WKLY. JUDICIAL ETHICs NEws, Aug. 20, 2003. As of 2004, there is an ABA Joint
Commission on Evaluation of the Model Code of Judicial Conduct examining possible
improvements in the Code. See Patricia Manson, ABA Contemplates Reworking Rules of
Professional Conduct for Judges, CHI. DAILY L. BULL., Sept. 26, 2003, at 3. The ABA President,
Dennis Archer, explained the need for such a commission: It has been 12 years since the ABA took
a good, hard look at the Code to see if it provides adequate guidance to judges about their conduct,
and to the public about what to expect from judges. Id. The Joint Commission held its first hearing
in December of 2003, and has scheduled hearings for 2004 at various locations throughout the
2. Comments of Detroit, Michigan Recorder Court Judge Leonard Townsend as reported in
Andy Court, Special Report: Poorman's Justice, AM. LAW., Jan./Feb. 1993, at 56. The Recorder's
Court is the trial court for all felony offenses in Detroit and other parts of Wayne County, Michigan.
The judge added: I'm not talking about cases where it's arguable. I'm talking about cases where
you have a guilty person walking out the door [because of a misguided jury verdict]. It happens
quite a lot. Id.

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