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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter compares U.S. plea bargaining with plea-bargaining-type procedures and penal orders in Continental Europe, with reference to Switzerland, Germany, and France. It first considers consensual criminal procedures across jurisdictions and why they exist, focusing on plea bargaining in the U.S. criminal justice system and abbreviated trial procedures in European civil law systems. It then examines the extent to which abbreviated trial procedures in civil law systems differ from plea bargaining in the U.S. system, the problems inherent in consensual criminal procedures, and the question of whether there are any solutions. In particular, it explains how plea bargaining and penal orders may lead to wrongful convictions. Finally, it discusses prospects for reform of plea bargaining in the United States and in civil law systems in Europe.

Keywords: plea bargaining, penal orders, Europe, consensual criminal procedures, criminal justice, abbreviated trial procedures, civil law, wrongful convictions, reform, United States

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