Understanding the Short History of Plea Bargaining, 13 L. & Soc'y Rev. 261 (1979)
As late as the eighteenth century, ordinary jury trial at common law was a judge-dominated, lawyer-free procedure conducted so rapidly that plea bargaining was unnecessary. Thereafter, the rise of adversary procedure and the law of evidence injected vast complexity into jury trial and made it unworkable as a routine dispositive procedure. A variety of factors, some quite fortuitous, inclined nineteenthcentury common law procedure to channel the mounting caseload into nontrial plea bargaining procedure rather than to refine its trial procedure as contemporary Continental legal systems were doing.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Langbein, John H., "Understanding the Short History of Plea Bargaining" (1979). Faculty Scholarship Series. 544.