The context of legal negotiations in which plea bargaining has a place is discussed as well as its causes, consequences, & legitimacy. It is argued that justice can be facilitated through flexibility in charging & pleading, although the advantages & who obtains them in plea bargaining as well as the underlying normative issues still need to be determined by researchers. Plea bargaining reforms are briefly considered, & a general introduction is given to the special issue of Law & Society Review (1979, 13, 2, winter) (abstracts provided elsewhere in this SA issue) based upon the French Lick Conference. M. Migalski.

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