If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Mandatory Sentencing and the Abolition of Plea Bargaining: The Michigan Felony Firearm Statute

Milton Heumann and Colin Loftin
Law & Society Review
Vol. 13, No. 2, Special Issue on Plea Bargaining (Winter, 1979), pp. 393-430
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Law and Society Association
DOI: 10.2307/3053261
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3053261
Page Count: 38
  • Download PDF
  • Cite this Item

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Mandatory Sentencing and the Abolition of Plea Bargaining: The Michigan Felony Firearm Statute
Preview not available

Abstract

Increasing concern about the substantial discretion accorded prosecutors in plea negotiations and judges in sentencing decisions has led to a number of proposals to curtail both. In this paper, we assess the consequences of an attempt, simultaneously, to abolish plea bargaining and introduce mandatory sentencing. The Wayne County (Detroit) Prosecutor prohibited his subordinates from plea bargaining in any case in which a recently enacted state statute warranted a mandatory sentence. This statute imposed an additional two-year prison term if a defendant possessed a firearm while committing a felony. Using qualitative data collected from interviews with judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, and quantitative disposition data for the six-month periods before and after the law went into effect, we describe the effects of the new statute on dispositions in Detroit. Though there is some evidence that the law and the prohibition on plea bargaining may have selectively increased severity of sentences for certain classes of defendants, for the most part disposition patterns did not appear to have been altered dramatically. In many serious cases, sentences for the primary felony were adjusted downward to take into account the additional two-year penalty; in "equity" cases, in which defendants had not previously received prison time, other mechanisms, such as abbreviated bench trials, were often employed to circumvent the mandatory sentencing provision.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[393]
    [393]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
394
    394
  • Thumbnail: Page 
395
    395
  • Thumbnail: Page 
396
    396
  • Thumbnail: Page 
397
    397
  • Thumbnail: Page 
398
    398
  • Thumbnail: Page 
399
    399
  • Thumbnail: Page 
400
    400
  • Thumbnail: Page 
401
    401
  • Thumbnail: Page 
402
    402
  • Thumbnail: Page 
403
    403
  • Thumbnail: Page 
404
    404
  • Thumbnail: Page 
405
    405
  • Thumbnail: Page 
406
    406
  • Thumbnail: Page 
407
    407
  • Thumbnail: Page 
408
    408
  • Thumbnail: Page 
409
    409
  • Thumbnail: Page 
410
    410
  • Thumbnail: Page 
411
    411
  • Thumbnail: Page 
412
    412
  • Thumbnail: Page 
413
    413
  • Thumbnail: Page 
414
    414
  • Thumbnail: Page 
415
    415
  • Thumbnail: Page 
416
    416
  • Thumbnail: Page 
417
    417
  • Thumbnail: Page 
418
    418
  • Thumbnail: Page 
419
    419
  • Thumbnail: Page 
420
    420
  • Thumbnail: Page 
421
    421
  • Thumbnail: Page 
422
    422
  • Thumbnail: Page 
423
    423
  • Thumbnail: Page 
424
    424
  • Thumbnail: Page 
425
    425
  • Thumbnail: Page 
426
    426
  • Thumbnail: Page 
427
    427
  • Thumbnail: Page 
428
    428
  • Thumbnail: Page 
429
    429
  • Thumbnail: Page 
430
    430