Sentence Discounting : Sentencing and Plea Decision-Making

Gormley, Jay and McPherson, Rachel and Tata, Cyrus (2020) Sentence Discounting : Sentencing and Plea Decision-Making. [Report]

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Although the evidentially-contested trial is the focus of popular culture and textbook commentary, in common with other English-speaking countries, such trials are relatively rare in Scotland. In practice, most Anglo-American systems resolve criminal cases that proceed to court by way of a guilty plea. People often plead guilty following some explicit or implicit agreement between the state (either the prosecution or the judge depending on the jurisdiction) and the defence. The effect of a plea on a sentence is, as shall be seen, contingent and direct consideration of a guilty/not guilty plea is only one component of a complex set of dynamics. This Report, commissioned by the Scottish Sentencing Council, assesses national and international research evidence, law, policy and practice.


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