Home > drugs, human rights, Human Rights Watch, legal and law enforcement > An Offer You Can’t Refuse: How US Federal Prosecutors Force Drug Defendants to Plead Guilty

An Offer You Can’t Refuse: How US Federal Prosecutors Force Drug Defendants to Plead Guilty

December 10, 2013

An Offer You Can’t Refuse: How US Federal Prosecutors Force Drug Defendants to Plead Guilty
Source: Human Rights Watch

The 126-page report details how prosecutors throughout the United States extract guilty pleas from federal drug defendants by charging or threatening to charge them with offenses carrying harsh mandatory sentences and by seeking additional mandatory increases to those sentences. Prosecutors offer defendants a much lower sentence in exchange for pleading guilty. Since drug defendants rarely prevail at trial, it is not surprising that 97 percent of them decide to plead guilty.

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