Texas A&M Law Review

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In this Essay, we dive deeper into this final dimension to discuss the influence of professional networks on plea negotiations. In particular, we examine the effects of crowdsourcing tactics in the negotiation setting. We describe, for example, what happens when lawyers bargain in public, benefitting from an audience that provides information about past practices and deals. And then we speculate about what might happen if that audience were instead a widely shared database that documents plea practices in the jurisdiction. We offer a few preliminary thoughts about the potential influence of such techniques, as we are not in a position to measure empirically the actual effects of crowdsourcing (either by audience or by database) on the rate or substance of pleas. Instead, we use anecdotal data to discuss how crowdsourcing techniques might affect party behavior and alter the balance of power among prosecutors, defenders, and judges when it comes to plea deals.

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