Law / Courts Negotiation Role-Play:

State v. Huntley

Timothy Reiser
Two-party criminal plea bargain negotiation between a prosecutor and a public defender for a man charged with aggravated rape

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SCENARIO:

Two police officers on routine patrol were stopped at 2:30 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, Huntley, was recently acquitted. However, the knife the victim describes cannot be found, and the woman has announced that she will not testify against Huntley in court for fear of ridicule if he is not convicted. The prosecutor is running for higher office, and has regularly emphasized stiffer sentencing for sex crimes as a campaign theme. This prosecutor was disqualified from Huntley’s last trial for prejudice, after a remark about castration. The public defender is the same attorney who defended Huntley at his last trial. Both sides have some obvious problems with their cases, and a variety of other conflicting and complementary interests in scheduling and attitudes toward alternative treatment programs. They are meeting to discuss a possible plea bargain.

 

MECHANICS:

The case benefits from careful preparation. Most participants will take some time to become familiar with the basics of the criminal justice system and the mechanics of sentencing. Negotiation time runs between 30 and 60 minutes. Review can vary from an hour to two. The case was designed as a one-on-one negotiation.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • This case presents the classic lawyer’s conflict of personal values and professional role in salient, traditional context. It is based on a real case and is almost brutally realistic. Given the tremendous discretion available, it is highly relevant to ask how personal feeling could not influence the outcome, and how you would measure whether or to what extent it had. From a larger view, one can ask whether, in fact, the system does not expect and rely on the exercise of just such personal discretion, and if so, how we feel about that. What regulatory mechanisms are there? How should the system weigh the probability of future harm against procedural rights? Under what circumstances, if any, are non-absolute answers to this question not destructive of the moral foundations of the system?
  • Cooperative, competitive, and principled approaches are each likely to lead to quite different outcomes, raising questions about which is better, for whom, and why.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • Police Officer’s Investigation Report
  • Overview of the Plea Bargaining Process
  • Rehabilitation Programs for Sex Offenders in Maine
  • Assorted Crime and Sentencing Statistics

 

Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for:

  • Prosecutor
  • Public Defender

 

Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the above

 

PROCESS THEMES:

Attorney/Client relations; Commitment; Compliance; Credibility; Delay tactics; Emotions; Ethics; Fairness; Gilligan, two voices; Issue control; Lawyering; Legitimacy; Objective criteria; Offers, first; Options, generating; Power imbalance; Precedents; Public opinion; Recurring negotiations; Relationship; Risk aversion; Risk perception; Time constraints

 

State v. Huntley Attributes

Time required:
1-2 hours
Number of participants:
2
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
Lawyer
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
No
Teaching notes available:
No
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You are then permitted to view the document on your computer and either print the number of copies you purchased, or forward the electronic file as many times as the number of copies you purchased. You will only receive a link to one electronic file per document. So, if you order 25 soft copies, you may either forward copies of the link to 25 people via e-mail, or print (and/or photocopy) 25 hard copies of the document.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

The purchase price and handling fee are the same for both soft and hard copies. Soft copies do not entail a shipping fee.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as all Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish to order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Participant Copies.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.