$0.00 – $6.00
Robert C. Bordone and Jeremy McClane
Four-person integrative plea bargain negotiation between two prosecutors, a public defender, and an alleged assailant
Two police officers on routine patrol were stopped at 2:35 a.m. by a woman screaming that she had been raped by a man in a nearby car. When approached, the man fled, but was soon apprehended. The woman's story bears a remarkable similarity to that of another woman for whose alleged brutal rape the man, Martin McGorty, was recently acquitted. However, the knife that the woman claims McGorty used cannot be found, and the woman has announced that she will not testify against McGorty in court for fear of ridicule if he is not convicted.
This negotiation involves four parties: a District Attorney, an Assistant District Attorney, the criminal defendant Martin McGorty, and McGorty's Public Defender. The DA was the original prosecutor in McGorty's previous trial but was disqualified for prejudice after a public remark about castration. The DA is running for higher office, and his campaign has regularly emphasized stiffer sentencing for sex crimes. The Assistant DA, a young attorney aspiring to the DA's office, is handling the current McGorty case. The Public Defender representing McGorty here also represented him in his previous trial. Part One of the negotiation involves client interviews: the Assistant DA interviews the DA, and the Public Defender interviews defendant McGorty, in order to determine their clients' interests and to decide how to represent them. Part Two is a plea-bargain negotiation between the Assistant DA and the Public Defender about the fate of the defendant. An optional third part may be used, in which the Assistant DA and the Public Defender brief their clients on the outcome. It should be noted that this case involves highly sensitive issues and that one-quarter of the participants are asked to assume the role of an alleged rapist. The sensitivity of the issues often makes for a provocative and memorable learning experience. At the same time, some participants may find the scenario upsetting. The Teaching Note contains suggestions for how to handle the emotional sensitivity of this case.
Criminal law; government parties; legal ethics; legal representation; plea bargaining; psychological issues; rape; unpopular causes
- Principal-agent tension: How does an attorney reconcile the tension between his/her own interests, the client's interests, and societal interests? How do an attorney's personal feelings influence the outcome of negotiation?
- Importance of relationship building: How does the quality of attorney-client communication and the strength of the attorney-client relationship influence the outcome? How does the ongoing relationship between the Assistant DA and the Public Defender negotiate affect their ongoing relationship?
- Ethical and policy issues: How should the legal system weigh probability of future harm against procedural rights?
Teacher's Package includes:
- Participant materials
- Teaching Note
Minimum Participants: 4
Preparation Time: 80 min.
Negotiation Time: 90 min. (45 min. for Part One and 45 min. for Part Two)
Debriefing Time: 40 to 60 min.
- State v. Huntley
- People v. Malvenue
- Probation Games
Commonwealth v. McGorty Attributes
|Time required:||2-3 hours|
|Number of participants:||4|
|Neutral third party present:||None|
|Teaching notes available:||Yes|