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The present Article demonstrates the error of this universalist theory of plea bargaining by showing how and why one major legal system, the West German, has so successfully avoided any form or analogue of plea bargaining in its procedures for cases of serious crime. The German criminal justice system functions without plea bargaining not by good fortune, but as a result of deliberate policies and careful institutional design whose essential elements are outlined in Part I. Part II addresses the American claims that a clandestine plea bargaining system lurks behind veils of German pretense.

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