oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Message in a bottle for unknowing defenders: strategic plea negotiations persist in South African criminal courts
|Article Title||Message in a bottle for unknowing defenders: strategic plea negotiations persist in South African criminal courts|
|© Publisher:||Institute of Foreign and Comparative Law|
|Journal||Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa|
|Affiliations||1 Harvard Law School|
|Publication Date||Jul 1999|
|Pages||141 - 168|
|Keyword(s)||American adversarial system, Attitudinal taxonomy, Criminal courts, Criminal defendants, Criminal justice system, Criminal trial systems, Plea negotiations, Pre-trial negotiations, South Africa, State of unknowing, Trial by jury and Trial lawyers|
When a foreign lawyer spends time observing and interviewing participants in another legal system, the differentiation between mediocre and outstanding lawyering is sometimes quite startling. This article was born out of many months observing and interviewing practitioners in the criminal courts around Cape Town and Johannesburg. If an observer looks closely, she will find that pre-trial plea negotiations persist at all levels of South African criminal courts, particularly among more experienced practitioners, despite the fact that the practice is neither formally sanctioned nor taught in law school trial advocacy courses. This non-recognition of a pervasive practice by the legal hierarchy has created a group of unknowing defenders who are unenlightened regarding the nuances of pre-trial practices and negotiation strategies.
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